Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good Hearted Attempts that Made no Difference

I was asked a serious question this week in a serious format.  The question was:  Social justice, does it work or is it just “good hearted attempts that make no difference”.  The question depressed me.  I answered it something like this:

Make no difference to whom?  Societally, do social justice efforts move the needle, even one bit?  We’ll never really know, but that’s asking the wrong question.  If the entire effort of the entire Salvation Army moved one soul toward building or re-building whole-hearted and healthy relationships (with others, God, the universe, family, friends), is that making a difference?  Its good enough for me. Even if the entire effort of the entire YMCA/YWCA through its whole history just gave one soul one meal that allowed that soul to recognize that their oppression was not their doing and free that one soul to live genuinely, it would have been enough.

True social despair is when you realize that you are participating in your own defeat.  To quote Jimmy Buffett, “We are the People our Parents Warned Us About”.   A more accurate title would be “We Continually Choose to be the People our Parents Warned Us About.”  Coming to this realization is true social despair. 

The facts are these: We Continually Choose to be apart from the other.  That is true of all of us collectively, but certainly not of all of us individually.  But if you count the wins and ignore the losses and all is well.  Its not a game because at the beginning, there already is a loser, so a win is a win and the loss is a push. Social justice may not be “right” but that doesn’t make its wrong.

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