Sunday, June 6, 2010


Social historians may want to correct me but one of the trends of the current era has been the constant need to innovate, to change. It seems, at times, that the desire for change outweighs any of the values that continuity might have to offer. 'A change is as good as a holiday'. 'If there's no change you're dying'. Add your own truism here if you like. Truisms enshrine a superficial truth but can't be tested to far without problems. All too often they become maxims on which other principles are built. Consequently, these new 'principles' have poor foundations, take on a life of their own and the underlying problem is perpetuated. Logically at some time it should all come toppling down.

What is gained by change? Well certainly things that are wrong need to be corrected. Change is frequently needed to avoid the mistakes we have made in the past. Should we hanker after change for change's sake? Here we are on less firm ground. All too often it can become an exercise not in improving the general situation but in giving the impression that something is being done. Sometimes it's an exercise in 'spin'- putting the best face on a bad situation. At other times it's the favoured activity of an unthinking collective under threat and trying to throw it's weight about. At the worst it's an exercise in deception- creating a smoke screen for something rather dubious going on that they don't want you to know about.

Now I'm not suggesting that we should all shroud ourselves in some sort of time capsule rather that changes do need to be carefully examined for their 'motives'. The indicators of bad change are clear. It has no real foundation historically, philosophically or theologically for that matter. It's imposition produces no real fruit in the long term rather, frequently, the opposite. If no reason can be found, apart from innovation for it's own sake, then these sort of changes need to be set aside.

Oh - and, by the way, Happy Dominica Secunda post Pentecosten!


  1. I blame that Cardinal Newman.

  2. It makes me think of the slogan at the UK and US elections, "Vote for Change". I never did see a "Vote for Continuity" caption! Great post.

  3. Oh - and, by the way, Happy Dominica Secunda post Pentecosten!

    Thanks - but I would rather follow the traditional rite and have Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi.

  4. Christopher Derrick covered this ground in his fine little book “Trimming the Ark”; exemplifying the more traditional attitude to change with the lines from “Lead Kindly Light” (“Change & decay in all around I see … etc.”). In other words an attitude of mind which regarded change not as good, or even neutral but actually as an evil; as evidence of failure & decay. Works for me I have to say.

  5. Salvatore,
    The line "Change and decay in all around I see" is not from Newman's "Lead kindly light" but from "Abide with me" by Henry Francis Lyte- and is doubtless a great hit with dentists!

  6. Oops! How very embarrassing! Is it any defence to say that I regard vernacular hymnody as an Abomination before the Lord?


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