I posted these thoughts in my online community The Lasting Supper yesterday.
I’m interested not only in how people change, but systems. It’s nearly impossible for people to change. It seems impossible for systems to change.
Here, I’m talking about the system we call the Church.
In the Bible, “stiff neck” refers to inflexible obstinacy. It doesn’t necessarily point to any specific fault. It simply describes someone or something that is unwilling to change. It is a stubborn attitude resistant to transformation.
A young woman, Essena, was a huge hit on Instagram because of her natural and beautiful “candid” photographs. Tons of followers! Now she’s come out and exposed that it was all a sham. Fake. Not real. She rewrites the descriptions to her model-quality photos and what she was really feeling, how much effort and how many takes it took, and how much a company paid her for the shot. She’s being honest about how she presented a whole life-style that was phony. She’s started a movement protesting this phoniness and encouraging girls and women to be real, to be themselves, and to not allow the world to dictate how they should look, what products to use, or how to feel about themselves.
Similarly, Kate Winslet now has a “no-photoshop” clause in her contracts with companies. Others are doing the same. On the one hand: awesome! On the other hand, they can do this because they’re already established, already made lots of money, and they are in demand. But take a young woman coming into the beauty industry now. She has no choice. She can’t “come out” and get the job. She can’t require a no-photoshop clause because they’d just laugh at her and tell her there’s a million girls waiting behind her.
I see the same struggle with the church and religion. I’ve come out because I can. I’ve taken a stand because my life is viable without it. I already do what I do. I can already survive and even make a little bit of a living from it. I can survive independently. But I couldn’t have done this, say, 10 years ago. Like many pastors today. And many Christians and church-goers. They can complain and cry for improvements. But they’ll often be laughed away because there are a million people behind them waiting to fill the space they leave behind. The risk is too high for many to walk away. Most people realize they have to sign the church’s contract in order to belong to the system.
No substantial change will come to the beauty industry because they really don’t have to. Yet.
No substantial change will come to the church because it really doesn’t have to. Yet.