It is easy for the previous generation to look as if it were made up of giants...heroes who saw things clearly. They may have been more ordinary than we imagine.
Remember in high school when, as a freshman or sophomore, you regarded the seniors as if they were gods walking the earth? Then, you became a senior and you felt...so...ordinary.
It is also easy to think that the messy way we move through change, today, is very unlike the clear, thoughtful, courageous way our forefathers and foremothers worked through change. My hunch, though is change is almost always messy...and the people who lead through it are often making up things as they go along.
Right now the United Methodist Church in Indiana is going through lots of change. Two annual conferences becoming one. New structures being put in place. New leaders. New processes. On and on and on. This afternoon many of the pastors and laity of northcentral and northwestern Indiana met at LaPorte for the first meeting of the Northern District.
Our leader is the Reverend Cindy Reynolds. She is one cool person! And she will lead this new herd of cats with as much faith and love and courage as any human could muster, but the change will be messy. Progress will come with two steps forward and one step back.
Change is messy. We see that in Washington right now with the whole healthcare debate. We see that as our national leaders try to sort out options in Afghanistan. We see that in our own community as the leaders of Elkhart County scratch their heads, look at the challenges, and search for new ways forward.
Change is messy.
And it is often led by people who are doing their best to figure out the next step.
The early Christian church faced a huge decision: would Jewish Christians need to be circumcised before becoming Jesus followers and members of the Church. They held this big conference or council in Jerusalem. It looks pretty neat and simple and clean, if you look in the book of Acts, but the truth is I think it was a mess. Even with people praying and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So if you are frustrated by the mess in your life, our country, or your church...maybe that's just the way we get from here to there. The way progress and change takes place.