Transformation and Change

I mentioned a few days ago that I had gotten Andrew Root’s new book in the mail.  I’m about 50 pages in now, and it’s presenting a good challenge.  The folks at Outreach Magazine recently posted an excerpt from the book about the church and change.  It’s a nice clip.  Here’s a quality snippet to consider:

Change is almost always considered to be some kind of growth, and in late modernity that which grows must continually grow. Modernity is about change because it is about growth. It takes a lot of work, and a whole different imagination, to disconnect change from growth. Untying the two leads to something completely different: transformation in the Spirit. Being the church is about transformation, not change. Though on first blush these seem synonymous, transformation and change are quite different.

Transformation, in the Christian tradition, comes from outside the self, relating to the self with an energy beyond the self. Because transformation comes from an energy outside the self, it invites the self into the new as a gift, as grace. It demands no increase for continuation, no energy investment to receive it. Transformation is the invitation into grace; it comes with an arriving word, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). Transformation is not the necessity to speed up but the need to open up and receive. Change, on the other hand, comes from within the self. Change makes the self into something new, using the power and the effort of the self: it is produced by the energy of the self.

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