Monday, 30 June 2008

Managing change and transformation - from Desert Island discs to new church constitutions

I've been thinking alot since the most recent weekend of my course in Rome about the issues around managing change and transformation. The language of transformation seems to be ever-present in current church and theological talk. Theologically the emphasis seems to be on the power of the gospel to transform society - yet we seem so reticent to do much more than just take the language of transformation into our own ecclesial structures.
Listening to Ara Darzi talking about how he had to work to change the culture of surgery in the British National Health Service in order to get acceptance of keyhole surgery, I realised what a huge task bringing about change is. Speaking on Desert Island Discs, Darzi, who is a surgeon and now government health minister in the House of Lords, said that up until the advent of keyhole surgery surgeons would pride themselves on being able to make the biggest cut possible. Trying to change that culture, those vested interests - all the training and skills aquired up until then called into question and needing to be revised. Darzi is also proposing controversial changes to the structure of the British NHS this week for its 60th birthday.

So are we really willing to be agents of transformation in the world and within our own structures or do we just talk about transformation while expecting the status quo to be maintained? Sometimes I feel that in the churches we point to the transformation societies need to make without seeing the desperate need for change at home.