Columbia, SC — A new face peeks out at the world from Vatican Square, dressed in white, surrounded by men robed in red and black. His predecessor stood in the same place a few days earlier. Can anyone really see a difference?
Ah, you say, there isn’t supposed to be a difference; that’s the point: It’s all about continuity. One pope is gone, and another smoothly takes his place.
Christianity lives on because it eventually adapted to change: early Christianity from Judaism, Protestantism from Medieval Christianity. Change is surely due, but where are the minds and voices to guide us through the change? Or will it be so evident that it will make religion as we know it irrelevant, so that everything changes?
Species change is gradual, while institutional change tends to be abrupt. Tension over a long period — like stress in a fault line — results in violent shifts. Small steps are best for smooth, lasting change. Resisting change only assures destructive change in the future.
When a woman or a person of another race or ethnic background joins a governing body, the dynamic begins to change. Attempts to exclude a voice for a potential contributor to the change debate is foolish at best and disastrous in the extreme.
Survival requires change.
Change is good.
Good change is better.
The best change is achieved by inclusiveness, the worst by exclusiveness.