Dear Members and Friends of Ark and Dove,
 
I like Taylor Swift. Yes, the Grammy award-winning, chart-topping pop star. I do not like to admit this, as my musical tastes tend toward the edges of alternative music. For years, folks have been trying to convince me that her music is good. I have always dismissed such claims. And yet, two weeks ago, Swift released her new album, folklore. I must say, it is really, really good. My mind is changed.
 
When was the last time your mind was changed? My mind has changed over issues much larger than pop music. I once thought power corrupts all, but now believe that there is transformational power for good. I believed that racism could be countered by books, but now think it must be dismantled in concrete actions. I understood Christianity to be about individual faith, but now understand that it is a faith affirmed in community and lived in the public sphere.
 
Sometimes it takes a long time to change our minds about one thing or another. Last night, in our discussion of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, our middle school youth were struck by how long it took for certain individuals and social groups to change their minds about racist ideas and policies. This is a somewhat predictable observation for youth, who are constantly changing their minds. However, it is a necessary critique of those of us who have insulated ourselves from different ideas and the criticism of our own. Our growth depends on the evolution of our thoughts and beliefs. Will we be rebuked for changing too slowly?
 
If we are to open our minds to change, we must expose ourselves to people and ideas that are unfamiliar. It may involve a book or a one-on-one conversation. It may involve, I don't know, listening to a Taylor Swift album. Change is uncomfortable and includes humble admissions not unlike the one that began this letter.
 
When have you changed your mind? What needs to change now?
 
Peace,
Jon
jnelson@arkanddove.org