People who never change their minds about anything must be right about everything, arrogant enough to think they are, or on crack!
Changing your mind is a human thing, not to mention a Christian thing. Even God changes his mind! Well, that’s debatable I suppose. There are verses on either side of it, but that’s not what we’re working on here.
You probably know that repent actually means to change your mind. You can’t really be a Christian to begin with unless you change your mind about God, yourself, and how one relates to him. Of course, repentance has to do with more than your mind, it reaches beyond how you think and into how you act. Better thinking leads to better behavior. Anyway, back to the thinking part…
There are many things I used to believe but no longer do, not mention things I didn’t used to believe but do now. I’ve changed my mind about a boat load of stuff over the years. Here is a very teensy sample size of such things.
When and how Jesus will return:
I can’t get into it now, but suffice to say if I told you what I now believe I’d have to kill you. (Not really.)
Stuff I’m more willing to take the time to think about:
In some cases, the things I’ve changed my mind about have to do with the fact that I’m actually thinking about them. While raising a family and pastoring 24/7, I simply didn’t give myself enough time to think outside that box. I didn’t have the bandwidth to explore ideas foreign to me as much as I have since “retiring.” This bleeds into the next point about…
Voices I’m willing to listen to:
Especially while pastoring and parenting, I was too careful about the voices I gave myself permission to listen to. Part of it a simple matter of time, plus I was probably too cautious about getting sucked into unbiblical and toxic ideas as though the Spirit was unable to keeping me on track. I confess to listening to voices almost exclusively inside my theological/ideological box. Whether it was about a different theological perspective than my own or a source from a different demographic that was familiar to me, I tended to stay pretty close to familiar ideas and sources.
I once subscribed to the bumper sticker that says: “Friends don’t let friends play the accordion!” I saw another one, “Play the accordion / go to jail!” Seems a little harsh. Yes? Anyway, I changed my mind about the instrument when I heard an amazing accordionist on the street in San Francisco! The music he produced with that squeezable squeaky box was enough to change my mind about the instrument.
The intersection of faith and politics:
There, I said it… the dreaded word: politics. I’ve even come to the scandalous position that Jesus was political! Now, I know you’re on the edge of your seat. But you’ll have wait till the Spring or Summer of 2022 to read the book I’ve just finished on the Sermon on the Mount for a clarification. I will say this, it’s not really politics that I’ve changed my mind about, it’s the intersection faith and politics. (If you don’t care to wait for my book to come out, take a look at my blog at: barneywiget.com. There are a number of posts that describe my position on this.)
The parameters of how to please God:
The list of attitudes and behaviors that I think God cares about has shrunk in some cases and expanded in others. It’s shrunk as I think through what matters most to him. You know, the old saying, “Don’t smoke or chew or kiss girls who do!” Well, I’m still not doing those, but am pretty sure some of things we’ve typically considered “sinful” may not be as important to God as we once thought. On the other hand, the list of what actually pleases him has expanded for me, mostly on justice issues, love of neighbor, and his bias toward the least, last, and lonely.
What have you changed your mind about lately…?
Pugs: You know, those miniature dogs with a scrunched-up face. I used to think they were gross, but came around to thinking they are kinda cute after all. (On the other hand, I haven’t changed my mind about putting clothes on dogs––sweaters, hats, coats… God already gave ‘em a coat. I’m not on board with addition layers on our pets.)
My idea of Church has both shrunk and expanded:
I wonder about those things we’ve come to expect in the American church experience, the “gotta haves” in a legitimate worship gathering. You know, stuff like musical worship with an amazing band and cool new songs every week. There’s the 30-to-45-minute sermons for the already overfed while sitted in comfy seats in extravagantly decorated buildings, an overdependence on professional ministers, and a tech experience that rivals Apple. None of that is wrong per se, but I wonder what kind of disciples we’re actually making with our reliance on it. As I observe, not that great.
What evangelism looks like:
In addition to what we tell people about Jesus, I’m more convinced than ever that what we actually do, how we live, evangelizes. Jesus said, “They will see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” I think much of the Evangelical Church has either forgotten this or doesn’t care enough to change their minds. Our witness in word and in deed nudges people toward him. I also think that our evangelism should an invitation to follow us as we follow Christ and work together in changing the world! For more on my ideas on evangelism you might check out my book: Reaching Rahab: Joining God in His Quest for Friends.
Green leafy vegetables:
I grew up on a very limited selection of veggies: peas, carrots, and an occasional artichoke. I’ve discovered the health benefits of a number of other vegetables, Rainbow Chard in particular. It’s good for you and better tasting (to me) than most other leafy greens.
I could go on to mention many other things I’ve changed my mind about: Social justice, women as spiritual leaders, and many things eschatological. I’m more Arminian than ever and less committed to theological certainty as the Christian’s gold standard.
What have you changed your mind about in the last few years…?