Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Everything Must Change

Day 98 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and some small groups in my town are reading Everything Must Change by Brian D. McLaren, because they are socially-minded progressive Christians who plan to discuss it. And probably, then, do something, as I gather the oomph of the book is to put beliefs in practice, and help effect change.

It's the title, and the idea of change, that moves me today.

Everything must change--I know that, I watch it, I live it daily--but I am also in tune with cycles of change, so I see how things persist and return. I plant perennials, so they'll come back. They come back differently, responding to the weather that year, what's sprung up near them. I let the cinquefoil, a volunteer wildflower, stand between the bleeding heart and the pinks, because it wants to be there, and it will be there next year, too.

My boss and I enjoy certain Pandora stations at work that play old standards. I love to hear the familiar melodies in all these variations--voices themselves familiar from other songs, new in this one, this one made new.

I love reading new books, and I love re-reading old books, new again in the light of experience. I love reading books about familiar places, re-seen. I love reading books that connect to other books, bringing things together.

When I studied political philosophy in college, a persistent frustration was that, to change anything, really, and deeply, one would have to 1) change human nature (if one had been able even to define it...) and/or 2) raze everything and start anew. But if the human nature thing had been imperfectly handled or understood, starting anew was doomed. And razing everything was violent and devastating, the risk of all revolutions.

And "revolution"--the word itself--contains its own undoing.

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