I have heard people rejoice in the fact that they have found a religion that is "broad-minded," by which they mean a religion that will take them as they are and make no effort to change them, a religion that gives them freedom--the freedom to do as they please. But religion that does not promote transformation is no religion at all. You might as well say, "I have found an engineering school that is broad-minded, that will make no effort to change me." If there were such a school. It would be a waste of time and money to enroll in it. - Eric Butterworth, Discover the Power Within You
I adore this quote. I’d like to see it embroidered, tattooed, spray-painted, engraved. It might be a bit long for a skywriter, but I’m not opposed to trying.
Table stakes: Prayer does not change God. Prayer changes me. This is profoundly important, and so often forgotten. Lots of people pray the "please God look the other way just this once" prayer, the "if you just let me get away with this, I swear I’ll never do that awful thing again" prayer. Those prayers have not, will not, and can not work. You and I know that the Bible is chock full of quotes like this:
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19, NASB)
God is not a big guy in the sky. Perhaps you’re thinking of Zeus. Or Baal. Appeals to ego, personality, or fear, for example, aren’t helpful. Those things don’t exist in God. More than that, we wouldn’t want God to change His opinion of us, given that He called you "Good and Very Good."
Spirit is doing a fine job. The object of prayer in particular and religion in general is to help us get out of the way. Change is the name of the game. So do you feel encouraged to change, or enabled to stay the same?
It’s important to accept and love all people. It’s important that the doors be open wide. But once people walk through those doors, it’s time to talk. Acceptance is vital, but it’s only the beginning of the journey. Sometimes, when people use my pet peeve phrase "I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual,” I wonder if they’re really saying something like “I like God stuff, but I don’t want to change.”
There is something inside you that can heal your life and change the world. For it to emerge, some assumptions need to be challenged. Some dysfunctions have to be worked through. Some things have to change. Let’s embrace it. Let’s insist on it. In all things, let’s ask for change.