Why is it that other people “resist”? There has been a lot of talk about resistance to changes in the church and in society. But as I read the blogs and the tweets I am struck by the fact that many seem to assume that it is “the other” who is resisting. Whether it is in politics or theology…. the left assumes the right is resisting while the right assumes the left is balking. I see little mention acknowledgment of one’s own resistances… and the kernel of truth in another way of looking at things.
As I thought of this I remembered a paper delivered by Regina Bechtle that offers a Vincentian perspective on resistance as a doorway to transformation… and not just for the other guy. Resistance does not discriminate. It is something that invites all of us to grow.
Regina Bechtle writes…”I’d like to reflect with you on the taste and feel and shape of RESISTANCE. I’ll invite you to explore how RESISTANCE IS AN INVITATION, a doorway that can lead to transformation. We’ll see what can happen when we turn resistance around, redirect its energy, and “go with the flow.”
Resistance usually marks the place where we are afraid.
Resistance usually springs from fear: fear of getting close to God, fear of getting close to others (“What will they ask of me?”), fear of losing control of our lives (as if control were in our
power!), fear of losing ourselves in the immensity of God/the other, fear of death. Resistance signals our growing edge, the place of our wounds. That is always a privileged,
Resistance signals our growing edge, the place of our wounds. That is always a privileged, holy place where the Spirit is mightily at work, where God waits to meet us. One writer believes
that change doesn’t really start with a beginning, it starts with an ending. Something has to end, die, move on, let go, to make space for the new. And don’t we resist it mightily!
Resistance is at work in every place that I label “non-negotiable,” where I am tied down, stubborn, stuck, in every area of life that I refuse to open to discussion. “If there is such an area,
love is liable to bring it on to the table.”
Perspectives on moving beyond resistance.
As Vincent, Louise, Elizabeth, Catherine, Rosalie, Frederic, and Thomas listened to the Word of God and pondered God’s ways with humans, something happened, something clicked. As they contemplated Jesus Christ, evangelizer of the poor, source and model of all charity, they had the intuition that the WAY TO GOD IS THE WAY OF BOTH/AND, not either/or. As they faced the tensions and conflicts of their times, as the Spirit opened their eyes wider and wider to see the face of Christ everywhere, they planted themselves firmly in the “AND.” Not with their
heads in the sand, but with their heads and hearts and bodies in the “AND.” AND is a key Vincentian word.
Our founders were people who lived at the extremes and chose to hold them together
Be sure to read the whole essay for a new perspective on our experience of resistance.