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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, April 21, 2014

Faithful Diversity

I have been sharing my thoughts about diversity. We need diversity to become exposed to the latent richness of new ideas and creativity within people who have experienced life differently from ourselves. Innovation emerges through the interaction of people in dialogue one with another. Innovation is about change, not for the sake of change but for relevance within the context of cultures, multi-generations and yet unknown factors. Did you know there are 4 stages to change we pass through called “The Change Cycle”?  This is how we each relate to change.

The Change Cycle
1.    Objection, denial, rejection…..”This change can’t be a good thing”
2.    Indifference, resistance, delay tactics ….. “I really don’t want to deal with this”
3.    Exploration, openness, vulnerability…… “How can I make this change work for me”
4.    Commitment, buy-in, catalyst …… “I understand the emergent transformation and will personally work to make it a reality

Let’s take an example of change such as our recent introduction of the “new” hymnal we use for worship…..

In Stage 1, some individuals who may be established in their theology may not be accepting of the inclusiveness of language, the notions of the hard living of society being loved unconditionally, of ourselves being called to forgive the “abusers”, of words and tunes in familiar hymns being changed, of multi-languages being used or repetitive chanting considered a hymn. I want what I had, not this heavier book with all new numbers for even the hymns I knew. I will vote to keep the original hymnal.

In Stage 2, some people will just sing the hymns they know. They will no longer sing in the choir. They might not play the piano using the new hymnal. They might even stop attending or decrease their financial giving due to this change.

In Stage 3, many who listen to those knowledgeable about the new hymnal and how and why it came into being, receive a new perspective not just about the new tunes, some of which are really likeable, but why the words are more inclusive, why our enduring principles of belief need to be sung to instill an enduring identity within us as a people. The hymnal helps us become comfortable with, to be blessed by and open to inspiring diversity.

In Stage 4, our thinking, our dialogue, our actions are changed in accordance with the newness we have experienced in singing the new hymns. We recognize their relevancy to life as we know it. We are challenged by the call to Mission. Our new spiritual centering compels us to exercise greater capacity in our lives to respond to needs about us that have been opened to our eyes through the words we sing. We understand anew our identity in Community of Christ, we participate in the spiritual formation resident within the pages of the hymnal that resonate with our search for meaning. We become sacred community with those we sing with and together understand what is ingrained in our hearts. Yes, “We proclaim Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love and peace” in song, in spirit, side by side in “knowing” community. 

Diversity fosters change. This beauty of change is as exhilarating as a newborn child, as a rainbow after a thunderstorm, a newly emerged butterfly, as spring’s welcome following a harsh winter. Let us be mindful that that which we know now is life only partially revealed. May we be open to the blessings of change through the diversity of those we daily encounter in openness and faith. 

Submitted by Kerry Richards    

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