“A Whole New World”

They’re changing Disneyland!  Changing it!  They’re closing things, moving things, re-scripting things.  I won’t know where things are.  My second favorite restaurant will be gone forever.  They’re moving the train.  The train!  Walt Disney’s train!!  Is nothing sacred?

If you have not heard, yet both Disneyland and Disney World are getting new ‘lands’.  To the august company of Fantasyland, Adventureland, and company the new ‘Star Wars Land’ is being added.  As a Star Wars fan I am mildly intrigued by the possibilities of incorporating the new universe into the park experience, but they are changing things to do it.  Interestingly I am not at all distressed about changes to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, but I am taking the changes to Disneyland as a personal affront.  Why don’t they just put this new stuff over at California Adventure with the other new things.  New works over there.  Disneyland is classic and should not be messed with.

Us pastor types talk a lot about change.  Change is good.  Change is healthy.  Change is the sign of a living and healthy organization.  I’m sure you’ve all heard it and it’s true.  Pastors LOVE change, until it comes time to change something we love, then look out!  We dig in our heels and complain to the highest heaven (or available authority figure) about how change for change’s sake is pointless and damaging.  I have seen it happen time and time again and have been guilty of such behavior a time or two myself.

Change is frightening when you are not the person in charge of it.  It is all very well and good to hear that something new and wonderful is coming.  It’s something else entirely to believe that something you love is going to be sacrificed for that new thing.  Whether in the church or in Disneyland, we cannot keep everything.  Something simply outlive their timeliness.  I have no desire to learn Latin, preach hour and a half long sermons, or have the ushers evaluate whether people are paying enough attention and hit them on my behalf.  I don’t feel like women have to wear hats and gloves, men have to wear suits, or children sit quietly in one place in order to worship.  I am also coming to the belief that new models of ministry are coming that connect with new generations in different ways that may actually make me irrelevant.  It is frightening that the church might move on and leave me behind even though I know in my heart that connecting with generations of people outside the church is more important than my personal comfort level.  I have a choice to make.  I can either embrace the change as best I can and become part of it.  Enjoy what it has to offer and allow my voice to be part of the change.  Or I can sit in my fear convinced that nothing that comes after can be as good as what has come before.

I will like Star Wars land.  Probably much more than I liked the small section of railroad and the barbecue restaurant that are being lost.  Similarly, I will like the church of the new millennium.  The core of what I love about church will not be lost.  We will still be Christ’s own people in community.  We will share the sacraments and serve those in need.  We will worship together in love and reach out in grace to those who have yet to hear the Word.  What the Lord requires of me may change, but I will not be abandoned.

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