Its hard to find news that isn’t new. Of course, you can be late to the party and hear second (or third) hand. But to find news that isn’t new? By definition, the news—in all its contemporary forms and features—declares something that has recently happened. Something new has occurred. Life used to exist in reality A, but now life exists in reality B. Rarely will you find a CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News article stating “Everything is the exact same”. And even when polls come out, describing today’s situation as the same as last year’s situation, that is still ‘new’ news. It is news that a certain occasion has persevered for another year.
What are we to make of this? As a confessional community, committed to orthodoxy and orthopraxy, Christians are purposely reluctant at some innovation. Technological innovation? Fine. Agricultural innovation? Great. But theological innovation? No. The Church is in the preservation business.
As Christians, we must not see ourselves as inventors. We are not called to be charting our own paths, but to seek the well worn path of saints before us. We follow Christ—for he is our path (John 14:6).
Instead, we must see ourselves more like antique dealers. Those committed to preservation, and to passing along what we have been given. Except what we pass along is the grace of God—free of charge, and infinite in value (see Isaiah 55:1-2). We are antique dealers, not seeking to make a profit, but seeking to faithfully steward our great treasure (cf. 1 Cor 4:2).
So next time you click on a Buzzfeed, CNN, or ESPN article, remember what they are highlighting. They only really let you know about change—about how shocking, incredible, and provocative it is. So ‘evangelical’ churches in support of gay marriage make the news not because this common, but because this is uncommon! If ‘evangelicals’ in support of homosexuality have become so prevalent–if this was your ‘run of the mill’ kind of stuff–one would expect the media to not comment on them. Thats why you don’t see many articles these days entitled “Unitarian Universalists Come Out in Favor of Universalism’ because…thats not exactly new news. Its not news.
Remember this next time when you are reading the news, and you are tempted to think that you are going to be ‘left behind’ (pun intended) by this post-modern (but homosexuality is obviously, no-debate-allowed, good), intellectual (but we’re really primal animals at heart), individualistic (but you need a community of total-affirmation to thrive), and secular humanist (but we also believe in moral therapeutic deism) culture. As long as the media keeps posting stories about how crazy (or antiquated) your ideas are, you’re probably not as much of a mean dinosaur as they portray.
This is not a cry against the ‘liberal’ media, but a plea for Christians to watch out. To not be taken captive by worldly philosophies (Col 2:8) that make it seem like all change is good. That all change is for the better, that we are on one happy journey towards progress and enlightenment is in fact a product of…the Enlightenment.
My heart needs much change. And the world needs much change. But that does not mean that all change is good. In a culture that promotes shock, newness, excitement and innovation, we Christians must remember what the Holy Spirit told us nearly 2,000 years ago: “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, ESV).