Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Problems I Have with "New"

I have been thinking a lot about new things lately. I love new things. I look forward to the new television programs during the Fall Television season. I love to watch movies at the end of the year when all the really good movies come out. I like to get the newest album from my favorite artists. In fact, I love new music so much, that I prefer new music and new artists to established ones sometimes.

However, there are some problems with my love of new. This was brought into focus during a recent conversation with a group of pastors. Our discussion centered around Psalm 96.1, "Oh, sing to the Lord a new song." We extolled the virtues of
  • Creativity- God is doing something when a new song is born.
  • Variety- There should be no limit to the types of expression of worship.
  • Work- It takes effort to learn or do "new." God is worthy of that.
However, all that "new" is not necessarily better. In fact, there are some definite problems with emphasizing the new.
  • To begin with, valuing new simply because it is new leaves us with the distinct implication that the old is necessarily inferior. This is not true.
  • If we are so concerned to find God's new thing, we may get the idea that he never did an old thing, or that there wasn't a new thing before. This might leave us with a sense of spiritual superiority.
  • Focusing on the new will almost always diminish the value of the old.
  • Emphasizing the new will often lead to instability. Consistency is sacrificed when we move quickly to the latest, newest thing.
  • Making too many changes, too quickly, will certainly offend and alienate those who are emotionally invested in the old ways. The status quo is not necessarily bad.
Finally, new is good. Change is good. But we must be careful that we are not looking for new just for the sake of new. We must never change just for the sake of change. Balance in everything is essential.

1 comment:

Tande said...

Great post Dewey!!! I like a balance of new and old - change and comfortable. Thanks for keeping me thinking.