Onomatopoeia, a word that sounds like its name. Flip flops flip and flop. It is the sound of summer, free toes and carefree minds.
But in the political realm the sound of flip flops is good for the media but very bad for the politician accused of doing the flipping and the flopping. To flip flop in politics is to change one's mind. The assumption I think is that if you change your mind once you're likely to change it again and again and then your mind turns to mush and our country goes to h*** in a handbasket. Or so I assume.
I heard it again on the news this morning - a politican being called a flip flopper and it infuriates me everytime no matter who the politican is. Its a lazy mud sling. Call your opponent a flip flopper and they might as well have voted to shoot Texas to the moon or nominate Beyonce's baby boy as the next governor of California.
Why is a leader who changes his or her mind on something considered weak, stupid or complicit? Why wouldn't we want leaders, in any arena, to stay informed, be open to new ideas and on top of cutting edge information and culture shifts? To change one's mind is not the same as being adrift, wishy washy or fickle. And yet in the political arena and in the religious arena it often seems as if it is.
Scientists, innovators, mechanics, doctors and musicians are held in the highest regard if they can change or adapt with the times. In some fields, its required. Why, in this regard, must church leaders be like political leaders - their minds cemented in certainty forever and ever?
Faith is not the same as certainty and leadership is not the same as stubborness.
Like God we can regret or repent (1 Samuel 15:11). Unlike God we are not immutable. It is impossible for us not to change. But does God change? Specifically, can the mind or will of God change? Does God flip flop? I do not think I would want to worship a God whose desires change with the wind. But I do want to be like the Holy Spirit whose grace seems to evolve and grow throughout the biblical narrative. The Spirit's inclusive nature widens as we enter into the first century and surely there is new revelation each and every day. This cannot mean that the Spirit withholds her plans or desires from us, can it? Can it be that the Creator God, Redeeming Christ and Sustaining Spirit moves through the world unaffected? Perhaps. But is that the kind of spiritual leader we are called to be?
If we are to be followers of a radical Messiah known as Jesus Christ and open to the moving of the Spirit we may find ourselves having a flip or a flop now and then. I call that courage.