Change is a process, not an event

Change is a process, not an event February 8, 2016

Feminist deconstructionist Barbara Johnson, Harvard-based business consultant John P. Kotter and others are credited with coining this phrase. The idea existed well before its common use in the 1980s. Suffice to say, the origin is debatable if not unknowable. The phrase suggests that change is always incremental. However, could it be that change is actually a very quick process? Is it so quick that it appears to be an event?  Or, can change be an event that is long and drawn out enough for it to be interpreted as a process? While one could gravitate to either extreme, why bother?  Change is an event and a process. There is little to gain by drawing a division that is arbitrary and non-universal.

Ephesians 4:24

. . . and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

As a rule, conservatives tend to see change as an event and liberals see it as a process. Conservative Christians often point to the moment they became a Christian and liberals are more likely to talk about their growth in faith. It seems foolish to try to stand on one side or the other, assuming that both can’t be true. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he speaks of change but stands quiet on whether this is a process or an event. These verses, and many like it, can be read both ways. Such a change can be almost instantaneous, or prolonged over time. Rather than debate whether or not change, including our salvation, happens one way to all (process or event), why not cast that argument aside and agree that different people and different situations can be interpreted with different images and different language? This works for both the quotation and the verse from Ephesians.

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