Minister’s Reflections – May 2015

Adjusting to change in society can be challenging. Some of the changes such as that of marriage equality are welcomed; and some changes are still sorely needed such as that of racial justice and economic equality, but change in general is challenging; new technology is for me.

I’m not an early adaptor. In my experience computers and the internet make some tasks quicker and some longer. I love using email; it is so convenient, but tasks like making airplane reservations, which used to take me a few minutes on the telephone, now take me much longer on the computer. Having more choices and less personal assistance, I check travel websites, airlines, schedules, seating charts, boarding and baggage options, make decisions, and fill out forms. I won’t stop using the internet, but acknowledging the challenges of this change helps me understand why everyone seems so busy; we are managing more.

As a minister I jump to attention when the phone rings anticipating it might be an emergency call. So I developed a way to manage those annoying Robo telephone calls. Several years ago I came up with a response, which I thought was .polite but served to get me off the phone quicker. After the computer switches to the solicitor and I listen to their initial pitch, I tell them that years ago I made a promise never to buy or contribute to anything through telephone solicitation because they are disruptive of my work. This technique still takes time but has been somewhat effective—until recently.

After listening to the details of a great opportunity to get another credit card, and then starting to give my little speech, I was surprised when the solicitor interrupted me saying, “You dumbass”! I always wish them well in their work as I say good-bye, but didn’t get a chance this time as the solicitor hung up on me. (I imagine that has been done to him frequently.) This is the first time I have been called a name by a sales person and the first time I have used such language in a church newsletter.

First time experiences can be challenging. The lesson is that it is constantly necessary for us to develop new ways of managing change. After retiring I hope to have the time to learn how to use technology more efficiently. As with other change we are not going to go backward technologically, nor as a congregation; we will learn and re-invent ourselves. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

So, let’s talk about change, make it manageable, maybe even embrace it in our personal lives and in the life of TRUU. You have my best wishes for the future.

Rev. Stephan Papa