Not all change is progress
By Mike Haynes
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… why “change” is such a positive word for people in churches, businesses, schools and even families. A colleague of mine has this tag on the end of his emails: “The seven last words of any organization: ‘But we’ve always done it that way.’”
With the NCAA Final Four coming up next weekend, I go to the late basketball coaching legend John Wooden for a rebuttal: “Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.”
And according to the late writer C.S. Lewis, all progress is not forward. In “Mere Christianity,” Lewis wrote, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
He obviously had repentance in mind, but also tradition.
In his academic writing about literature, history and philosophy, Lewis was known as a defender of traditional, classical education. He frowned on scholars who were inclined to think just because an idea was “new,” it was better than “old” ideas. He even suggested that when learning from books, “you should at least read one old one for every three new ones.”
Lewis didn’t want to lose the wisdom of the ages.
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… whether movie reviewer Peter Sobczynski (at rogerebert.com) really wanted to give the new Christian film, “Do You Believe?” one-and-a-half stars out of four. His comments are more negative than that.
He criticizes the movie as “subtle as a sledgehammer to the toes” and likes the scenes that are not so “overtly religious-minded.” I agree that many movies created with an evangelistic purpose are short on creativity and tend to push the message a little too hard. But what about this statement from Sobcznyski?:
“‘Do You Believe’ will no doubt play well with viewers already predisposed toward liking it because it has been designed to reconfirm their already deeply felt beliefs rather than doing anything that might cause them to think about or challenge those beliefs in any meaningful way.”
I could turn that sentence around to say, “‘Do You Believe?’ no doubt will not play well with certain reviewers already predisposed toward disliking it because it has been designed to challenge their already deeply felt beliefs.”
Most Hollywood productions promote a non-Christian point of view without doing anything that might cause viewers to think about the Christian alternative in any meaningful way. While movies such as “Do You Believe?” might not reach the creative heights of some secular films, they are endorsing a singular world view – just as many “modern” movies do. They are an attempt to even things out. And they attract large audiences.
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… how I went this long without ever hearing of Boney M or Daniel O’Donnell? Despite the name, the former is not a rap artist but a black singing group that’s been around since the disco era. Last Thanksgiving, my dad went to YouTube and showed me Boney M singing the moving “Rivers of Babylon.” Then he played for me the version of that song by O’Donnell, who apparently is a household name in Ireland and performs in Branson, Mo.
I guess I won’t discover all good music just listening to classic rock stations.
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… who’ll be the next full-time minister in my family. A few times, I’ve referred in this space to “my cousin the preacher.” That’s Thacker Haynes, the Methodist pastor in McLean for more than 20 years. I can’t use that description anymore, because now I have two more pastor cousins (that I know of).
About three years ago, I met Roger Smith. Although a distant cousin, he organized a family reunion and has become a familiar face. He’s the pastor of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Amarillo.
And for the past few months, my cousin Scott Raines, who recently entered the ministry, has been the congregational care pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Amarillo.
If I need somebody to pray, I’m hooked up.
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Have a blessed Easter.
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