Peter Pan is a great story. In the Broadway Musical version there’s a song in which the main character insists, “I won’t grow up. I don’t wanna go to school; just to learn to be a parrot, and recite a silly rule.” Aside from flight, fighting pirates, visiting mermaids and traveling to a distant place that exists beyond the second star to the right, this story line is really familiar.
I’ve met lots of people who don’t want to grow up. You don’t have to attend a class or a family reunion to meet them; however it is entertaining to see some people live in denial that life has continued since they were cool. Change is scary. It requires confidence; and that confidence seems to be the characteristic that so many of us deny.
I don’t know why so many Christians are afraid of change. It seems as though we’d rather remain immobile. However, …we’re being transformed into the image of Jesus daily, the whisperings of the Holy Spirit should make us familiar to following his directions, our gift-sets exist for the purpose of benefiting the changing needs of the church. And if we indeed follow Jesus Christ with our lives, it should mean that we have made ourselves available to follow God’s directions. Christians living in denial that the world needs innovation, that how we deliver information about the good news (gospel) may be fine-tuned to meet the needs of today’s changing culture.
I met a friendly couple just yesterday who seemed honestly upset that the world was different than it was when they were young. They identified this change as completely negative. Technology was bad, cultural change was bad, immigrants were bad, what was learned in public schools was bad, the government was bad… I imagine they thought Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ album was bad, too. I suspect they’d enjoy reliving the 1960s all over again in a perpetual ‘Ground Hog Day’ sort of way.
But growth and change is foundational to life. Any student of literature will tell you that characters who do not grow during the course of a story are considered flat and static. It’s not a compliment to be undeveloping, whether your name is Peter Pan or it it’s Peter Gunn. It is not admirable to go through an experience and not learn and grow from having gone through it.
Perhaps it’s good to be reminded that our faith needs to change. It’s one thing to have child-like faith. It’s another to have a child-like behaviors. We need to grow with the times, assume responsibilities, adapt to what comes our way, and most of all, heed the call of our God who wants us to serve and stretch, obey and respond, and ultimately learn and grow.