A Response To Change

We all feel swept up in a tide of change sometimes. I bumped into an interesting response in my reading last night.

I’m looking at the life of Jonathan Edwards, the great theologian in the British colony of Massachusetts during the 18th century. In 1742 Edwards was part of a massive up-swell of religious fervor. Along with the rapid growth of spiritual enthusiasm came a drive to change established religious practices. We call that period the Great Awakening. Edwards was at the heart of it.

The rise of religious feeling in New England produced a backlash by ministers comfortable with the old order. Friction, tension, and infighting erupted.

In response to this swirling change, Edwards decided to write a lengthy essay. In it he described the best sort of life that a Christian should lead, seven days a week, inside church and out. Edwards wrote about the congregation and congregation members that he wanted to see in his own church. The essay was, essentially, a manual for translating change into the ideal outcome.

I think this is a remarkable approach to change. Edwards sought perfection from change, the exact state of how things ought to be.

How many of us do the same thing now? Do you know a leader seeking to make sense of the change around you who seeks to find perfection? Is that leader you?