Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

One of the things that strikes me about the 2008 Presidential campaign is how optimistic the whole thing is.

I don't mean that there hasn't been any negativity. Certainly the campaigns have taken a negative turn over the last few months. Additionally, many voters desperately fear what will happen to our country if their particular candidate doesn't win. But it's the opposite side of that fear that I find very interesting.

There is a notion that one candidate or the other possesses some extraordinary ability to transform our country. As much as anything else, this campaign season has been marked by hope. And it seems that what people are placing their hope in is change.

Yes, change has been the buzz word for the last year—and for good reason—but believing in change is a funny thing. Above all, it is terribly optimistic. Believing in change is believing in our ability (or our candidate's ability) to improve our world. It is believing in our ability to overcome evils—whether moral, systemic, or otherwise—and to transform things for the better.

But this belief in change is in tension with the idea of a fallen world. If all humans are ultimately disfigured by sin, to what degree is change actually possible? Sure, names and faces will change. Political balances of power will change. New systems and structures will be instituted and others will die out. But can we really change anything for the better? If so, how much better?

I don't mean to come across as cynical—I only mean to point out that if we truly live in a fallen world, then that is a reality we need to take into account. And that applies to more than just this election season. Social action organizations and human rights campaign face the same reality. In fact, any attempt to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and care for the sick and imprisoned is openly in tension with the reality of a fallen world.

Admittedly, I believe very strongly in social action efforts. I believe in the importance to working to improve our world. I believe in change.

But, is change really something we can believe in?

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I wonder if we simply "hope" for change instead of really believing in it. I think that if we truly believed in change, we could, as a people, become more involved in seeking to make that hope become a reality in our fallen world.

    If our belief would present itself in such a way as Jesus lived-out and told his followers they could join in with, then the typical ideological faith of which we are so used to in our contemporary western society could grow wings into a faith (or belief) fleshed-out for the good of humanity in actual physical reality as opposed to remaining ideological.

    Social action is faith with wings all the while we are very aware of our own negative contributions to a fallen world. Real faith recognizes and accepts its falleness and yet still finds the courage to become true to itself and to those of whom can be touched by its genuine nature.


Let me know what you think....