When a group gathers at my house, we like to talk about big things...religion, philosophy, theology and politics and how they all relate to one another. There is much dissatisfaction with the way things are in America among my friends. Many of us are weary of not knowing who to believe in the media and political arenas. Some have given up voting, others feel it a moral obligation to vote but feel it makes no difference and still others are passionate with hope that we can make a difference. When I think about war, powers at work and the game of politics I get overwhelmed.
Our last heated discussion led me to think that America is just too dang big! There is this pressure to change society...to make a difference on a national and global scale. To do something really huge. But in the end, I can’t do that. It’s too big. Most people don’t even have time to work for change...at the end of an 8 hour work day, you just want to be home resting with your wife and kids. Poverty, war, violence, drugs, gangs, global sex slave industry, abuse of political power, corruption, hunger, aids crisis, the uneducated, street kids, orphans, religious persecution and a hundred other things fade into the realm of “someone else’s problem”. It’s so big and I’m so tired and I just want to be a good Dad or Mom or student or something...
Then I read this great article by Chris Haw in the Prism e-pistle. Here’s a piece of it...
“I cannot talk about big concepts such as "changing the world" or "making a difference" apart from the tiny, mundane and seemingly ineffective actions of helping others heal. In other words, I'm wondering if healing acts can be anything but small, loving, and personal. Leo Tolstoy rings through my head, competing with the cacophony of militarism, globalization, and the calls to somehow stop them altogether, crying out, "everybody wants to change the world, but nobody wants to change themselves."
He is part of a little house like ours in Camden, NJ. It’s a small group of people living together and trying to love a neighborhood. And I think, this is where it’s at. If we’re all doing something, what we can do, where we are at, the world will change.
Perhaps just a little extra effort and sacrifice...sposoring a child through world vision or compassion international, giving up a couple of hours in the week to volunteer at something, supporting a missionary or heck, a career change and being a missionary! Maybe you can’t be president but you can be on city council or go to the meetings and speak up. You may not be able to change the plight of the poor third world farmer but you can grow your own garden or shop the farmers market or buy coffee fairly traded (they sell it now on the internet, save mart and starbucks...look for “fair-trade certified”). You may not be able to change the environment but you can recycle and compost and buy in bulk and waste less. You may not be able to close sweat shops but you can look for union made labels or shop at the thrift store first.
Little, done by a lot of people, turns into big. Changing yourself changes the world.