I have been dreading this semester. Bill Mallard, my colleague in historical studies at Candler School of Theology, is retiring at the end of the year. Together he and I have team taught the first semester of the History of Christian Thought each fall for 21 years. It is hard for me to imagine what the autumns will be like now.
Ancient Greek philosophers regarded change as a very bad thing. From their perspective, it can only lead to degeneration and death. In the fourth century the optimistic Christian bishop Gregory of Nyssa attempted to take this theme of change and stand it on its head. It is a good thing that we are changeable, he said, because although death is real, change gives us the chance to grow continually toward God in love.