Sunday, October 17, 2010

How We Change

I grew up as an Episcopalian, then made a conscious commitment to Christ in college and became theologically conservative. I remember thinking how liberal my Episcopal upbringing was (and I still think it was), looking askance at "liberal" activities like the annual blessing of the animals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Blessing animals? Animals in church? "Typical Episcopalians," I thought.

But now I think differently. I still think the Episcopal Church -- except for conservative corners and congregations here and there -- is sadly liberal theologically, even more so than it was when I was growing up as an Episcopalian. But I no longer look judgmentally at the annual blessing of the animals. Since Colossians 1:16 says that all things were created for Jesus Christ, that has to include the animals. They certainly deserve God's blessing as sentient beings as much as humans do, we animals made in God's image. The blessing of the animals is a good example, to me, of a right exercise of the dominion God gave man over them -- caring and providing for them according to their needs.

That change in my perspective was slow in coming, but I'm glad it did. I wonder what I will look back on 20-30 years (d.v.) from now and realize my thinking has changed from what it was in 2010? (I love the honesty and humility of one of conservative evangelicalism's best-known writers and commentators who said, in his sunset years, after decades of writing, preaching, and teaching about evangelicalism's watershed doctrines, "I know far less about prophecy than I used to." If you don't understand that statement, don't worry. It's a "you had to be there" thing.)

Here is a video of this year's recent (October 3) blessing of the animals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine:

No comments:

Post a Comment