Monday, 1 March 2004

For Better or Worse

Don't you hate it when your regular supermarket goes and changes round all the aisles?  I mean, why do they do it when it causes so much confusion and no obvious improvement?
In my childhood we often went on holiday to Scotland.  It was a vast and rugged wilderness in contrast to the homely island of Jersey.  It seemed to take ages to get right up into the Highlands, often travelling on single track roads with some long reverses to the passing places and frequent pauses to avoid the black faced-sheep. 
In our VW Dormobile Camper Van it was sometimes quite a hairy experience, but that just added to the wonderful sense of adventure and remoteness which was what it was all about.
Last time I went to Scotland (on our honeymoon) there were a lot of new roads on the major routes.  The passage had been eased by levelling and blasting so that you can sail along on your way without thinking.  The odd little wiggles of 'old road', scattered disjointedly on either side, gave you just the odd reminder of days gone by.  To me it was an 'improvement' that destroyed part of the spirit that I wanted to remember.
It saddens me when I'm reminded how many species of animals are being brought to the brink of extinction with many of them going further and plunging over the edge.  Modern life has a lot to answer for. 
But perhaps that is a bit of a distorted picture of how things are.  Hasn't it always been the case that species have been dying and new species have been evolving in response to the changing conditions of the environment?  If all the species that have ever existed were still present now (including of course the dinosaurs) then things would be more than a little crowded and probably not very pleasant!
When it seems like all change is for the worse, perhaps we need to look again.  It may well be that everything we hold dear is vanishing.  But maybe those things are irrelevant for the next generation - not because young people in general have no sense of respect or value but rather because a new matrix of value is emerging that is equally valid and more relevant for the times.  Sure enough if your eyes are so trained to see only the old ways then the new will just look like chaos.  But if you put aside your suspicion of chaos (or better still learn to surf it) perhaps all kinds of new patterns will reveal themselves.
So for instance if you're afraid of change in the Church ask yourself the following question: Would you rather the Church becomes extinct when you do just so long as it never changes; or would you rather take the risk of seeing it free to repeatedly die and rise again just as it always has done?