Who even AM I??
on changing my mind
“God forbid that God's own redeeming work in the world be done through music and theology I find abhorrent. It's totally annoying and absolutely predictable. It happens every time.”
The above quote is from a short piece I wrote nearly 15 years ago for Sojourners, and if memory serves, is also the first time my writing was published anywhere but my own blog. And I have been a bit haunted by it this week.
For some reason when I published You Can Take The Girl Out of Fundamentalism, But You Can’t Take Fundamentalism Out Of The Girl a few weeks ago, I indicated that it was the first of “a series” on intellectual humility. I had just returned from a gathering on the topic and was filled with a delusional but short-lived optimism about my own fecundity as a writer.
But today I remembered that one aspect of intellectual humility is just simply the ability to change one’s mind about a matter of importance.
Here’s why this all came up for me this week: that essay I wrote 15 years ago…it was about attending worship at the women’s prison and how I was confronted by the inanity of my own snotty opinions about praise music when clearly the women there found it really meaningful.
In my life as a pastor I have had MANY opinions about all the things: pews, hymnals, music, lectionary preaching, length of sermons, focus of sermons, who should or should not wear clergy collars, communion bread, if there should be juice offered or not, what should be said when communing someone, if a Psalm is necessary, should there ever for any reason be back up singers, should lyrics be projected on a screen, etc…. I mean - ALL THE THINGS AND SO MANY OPINIONS.
And I just KNEW I was right about all of it.
And now? After COVID lockdowns and civil unrest and racial reckonings and the overturning of Roe v Wade and our society being like maybe a month or two from a Mad Max situation? Now?
Well, let’s just say that last week when I was planning the liturgy for inside the women’s prison and I looked at the lectionary texts assigned for the day, I was like, “hard pass”. And I have always been a devoted follower of the lectionary.
Then when choosing the music I landed on Here We Are To Worship and Open The Eyes Of My Heart. Not because I love these praise songs, but because the women do.
And then on Sunday I only read one lesson during worship instead of three lessons and a psalm.
If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be doing shit like this I would have told you “you have the wrong girl”. Because I had OPINIONS about all of that.