Or so we are told. Over and over again. To the point that it is believed to be true without any proof, or minimal proof at best. It’s more of an assumption at best.
How do I know?
Because I have watched people who claim to not like change go through major changes in order to avoid small changes.
I have watched people leave long term commitments because of a change. People have left jobs they have been at for a long time to go work somewhere else. People have left long term relationships. People have left churches over worship times changing. People have left organizations they have been a part of. People leave things all the time. Think about that for a minute.
Which is a greater change – staying in an institution you have a long term relationship with but adapting to a small change, or leaving that long term relationship and starting fresh somewhere else because you didn’t like the other change? It’s not change that people don’t like. If change was what people didn’t like, they wouldn’t leave long term relationships, long term jobs, churches, or institutions and organizations they have been a part of.
I think people leave these for a lot of reasons. Two of the main reasons is usually unspoken – loss of control and loss of privilege. Some people will leave when they no long feel they are in control when they used to be before. Some people will leave when their privilege is no longer accommodated – when their way of doing things is no longer seen as the norm of how things are done.
This happens when others are empowered – maybe people who had no power before. No power to make decisions – especially decisions that impact other people. When power dynamics change, it impacts many things – culture, money, focus, vision, relationships, decision making, and the future. When power dynamics change, it impacts the expectations, values, roles, and more. Systems change when power dynamics change. Often none of this is talked about in the open. But regardless, we know these things change. It’s what causes some people to leave.
And the other side of that is also true – it’s what will cause some others to come. To join in. When power dynamics change, new people are empowered. The key is creating a system that empowers people to empower others. So that power is never hoarded. So that power continues to be spread out and shared with more and more people. So that responsibility is shared. It’s how trust is built. It’s how community is developed and grows. It’s how healthy systems take root. It’s how people stay. Not because they are concerned about retaining their power, control, and privilege. But because they are excited to see how the relationships they have grow and deepen and how more people are added into their world in new and fascinating ways.
This is what Jesus did, over and over again. He was constantly tearing down established power structures and systems and empowering more and more people. It’s what his call to discipleship was all about. People didn’t reject his call to follow him because they feared change. No, rather, they rejected Jesus because it meant they would no longer be in control. They would no longer have privilege. It would change. The world would change. Their lives would change.
And that is too much for some. But for others, that change is about bringing life to them – sometimes literally. It’s what Jesus offers each one of us.