As mentioned in the blog of my friend and colleague The Vicar of Didley, I am it is true, a little put out at the recent changes in facebook. And yes there is a certain irony in the fact that one so dismissive of needless traditions in the church might be upset about change elsewhere.
But here is the deal, and I think it is something that helps us understand those who oppose change within our Churches.
I dislike the new facebook NOT because it is new and different, but because it seems to be a step in the wrong direction. It is not, in my opinion, a change for the better.
So often when we propose change in our Churches we write off those who object as stick-in-the-muds who just can’t handle change. When actually their objections are often based in concern that things are changing for the sake of it not for the benefit of others.
Facebook’s recent changes were unannounced, without consultation with its users and confusing to the vast majority of members.
In the old days Vicars and Rectors had Carte Blanche to change things without explanation and without consultation – they effectively had the authority to do what they wanted. In my own Church there was a sorry episode in the late 60’s where the Vicar wanted to make a change in the worship area of the Church in order to challenge people’s view of worship. The result of the change, nearly destroyed the Church and even today their are people in town who feel bitter about what was done.
Yet when we had a complete re-order in 2004/5 it has – for the most part – greeted with excitement and enthuaism, because the project was owned by worshipping community who were consulted every step along the way.
This is why we have Faculty’s and the DEC. To help us have the proper consultation, plans and understanding in the process of changing Churches.
Progress for the sake of it is never good. Look at the digital gift cards that have replaced shop vouchers – if more than one person wants to give tokens as a present you just end up with hundreds of plastic cards – using them is time consuming, making them is wasteful and the whole thing is pointless.
When we change things it needs to be change for the better. Screens replace hymn books because it is easier and more convenient over time to use a projector – and most importantly it physically frees people in order to engage in musical worship. Change for the better.
So lets be aware when we think about change, analyse our reasons and be prepared to admit mistakes.
Facebook are you listening?