Change The World? Why Not?

I’ve heard the cliche. Heck, I’ve said it. Many times.

“We’ve got to get together and change the world!” While, off in the distance, some eavesdroppers roll their eyes while thinking, “Here we go again. Another generation of young whippersnappers who thinks they have something new to contribute.”

Right. I get it. People have grown callous to the ideas of youth, innocent pawns of naivete who lack true “understanding” or “wisdom.” These things have been said before, they’ll be said again, and the world will keep on turning just the way it always has.

Or, perhaps worse, they will grow extreme in their views and do something stupid or reckless. Maybe they’ll get violent. It’s been done before. We hear about idealism that leads to bombs and bloodshed and broken hearts. What if things get out of hand?

Fear? Understandable, for sure. That’s how these things go sometimes. It’s the way of the world, a manifestation of twisted existence that can be traced back, in our tradition, to a story of a man, a woman, a snake, a couple of fig leaves, and a tree.

But is it really necessary to trample upon the spirit of idealism? Is it ‘safe’ to automatically disregard those with visions in their heads by saying, “Eh… they’ll grow out of it”?

Because I’m thinking that would be… um… bad.

Over the last week, I’ve been pretty floored by the reaction of my students to what happened in Haiti. Granted, I live and work in a university community, a relative hotbed of innovation and idealism geared towards changing the world in which we live. So I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. But still… the conversations around these parts aren’t solely about sending money or food or health supplies. There is a genuine concern… no, a call… for a more permanent form of change, for a long-term investment in the lives of our neighbors to the south.

For many of my students, sitting around just ain’t cuttin’ it. They want to do, do do. “Let’s do something!” Maybe a run/walk for Haiti. Maybe something where we sleep outside on the Quad. Maybe a benefit concert. Ideas here, stories there, time to get our collective hands dirty. Come on, let’s go. We can’t wait. We must not wait. We must never forget. Especially when the media leaves… because they will leave… we cannot forget. Change the world. Now. Work together. With people of difference. And different faiths. Not just Presbyterians. Not just Christians. Everyone. Now. Let’s get to work. Now.

That’s what I’m hearing. And, you know what? I’m with them. Or, at least I’m trying to hang with them.

You want to quell that spirit? Go ahead. Terrible things have been done in the name of idealism. Awful things done in the name of God. I wouldn’t blame you if it scared you… it does me, many times. And sometimes change can be worth fighting against.

But that’s not always the case. Many times, it’s very much the opposite. A lot of the time, those of us who long for the status quo… we would be wrong. Because that’s just not good enough. Not for them. Not for us. And, perhaps, not for God.

Change the world? Why not? The opportunity is there for all of us now. Don’t be surprised if we seize it.


~ by presbytide on January 21, 2010.

One Response to “Change The World? Why Not?”

  1. Now, see, this is why I read your blog! Inspiration to carpe diem.

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