10 Decisions You Can Make to Change the World
Sojomail - June 6, 2013
10 Decisions You Can Make to Change the World
After traveling the country this spring — while keeping an eye on Washington, D.C. — I am more convinced than ever that our personal decisions, choices, and commitments will change the world more than our politics. The message in the Epilogue to On God’s Side says this as well as I could do again. It’s short and very practical. Here it is:
The common good and the quality of our life together will finally be determined by the personal decisions we all make. The “commons” — those places where we come together as neighbors and citizens to share public space — will never be better than the quality of human life, or the human flourishing, in our own lives and households.
Here are ten personal decisions you can make to help foster the common good.
1. If you are a father or a mother, make your children the most important priority in your life and build your other commitments around them. If you are not a parent, look for children who could benefit from your investment in their lives.
2. If you are married, be faithful to your spouse. Demonstrate your commitment with both your fidelity and your love. If you are single, measure your relationships by their integrity, not their usefulness.
3. If you are a person of faith, focus not just on what you believe but on how you act on those beliefs. If you love God, ask God how to love your neighbor.
4. Take the place you live seriously. Make the context of your life and work the parish that you take responsibility for.
5. Seek to develop a vocation and not just a career. Discern your gifts as a child of God, not just your talents, and listen for your calling rather than just looking for opportunities. Remember that your personal good always relates to the common good.
6. Make choices by distinguishing between wants and needs. Choose what is enough, rather than what is possible to get. Replace appetites with values, teach your children the same, and model those values for all who are in your life.
7. Look at the business, company, or organization where you work from an ethical perspective. Ask what its vocation is, too. Challenge whatever is dishonest or exploitative and help your place of work do well by doing good.
8. Ask yourself what in the world today most breaks your heart and offends your sense of justice. Decide to help change that and join with others who are committed to transforming that injustice.
9. Get to know who your political representatives are at both the local and national level. Study their policy decisions and examine their moral compass and public leadership. Make your public convictions and commitments known to them and choose to hold them accountable.
10. Since the difference between events and movements is sacrifice, which is also the true meaning of religion and what makes for social change, ask yourself what is important enough to give your life to and for.
Finding the integral relationship between your own personal good and the common good is your best contribution to our future. And it is the best hope we have for a better life together.
Jim Wallis is CEO of Sojourners. His book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good, is now available. Watch the Story of the Common Good HERE. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.
ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG
View latest articles from the God's Politics blog »
Star Trek: Into Darkness: A Call to Change Course
by Adam Ericksen
Star Trek: Into Darkness is a fascinating and complicated story that is well worth watching. Instead of providing a summary, I want to explore three related aspects of the movie: sacrifice, blood, and hope for a more peaceful future.
Anyone who listens to our Homebrewed Christianity CultureCast knows that we love Game of Thrones. The writing is complex and dramatic, and the characters are fascinating. What's more, after the recent "Red Wedding" episode, we're all too aware that no character, no matter how important or beloved, is safe.
As many of you know, I have a regular spiritual practice of warning people that I will disappoint them. A couple times a year, we host a Welcome to House for All Sinners and Saints brunch for newcomers. Everyone goes around the room saying what drew them to this community or what keeps them here. They usually say it's a comfortable place where they can just be who they are or they love the singing or the community. One time someone said that their mom was Catholic and their dad was atheist and that this church kinda felt like a combo of the two. And while I wasn't entirely sure I knew what that meant, I thought it was awesome.
So, maybe you know some of Mumford's tunes. Maybe you know they won the Grammy. Maybe you know that they were interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine. You might even know they have been criticized by a few religious leaders for being lukewarm in their faith. Yeah. It's all out there for you to read. I encourage you to do it. Then I encourage you to go to the concert and let me know if you still think that they are lukewarm about anything.
"Love is so short, forgetting is so long," laments Pablo Neruda, a line recited in a particularly poignant moment of Stories We Tell.
Director Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz, Away from Her) knows this as well as anyone. Stories We Tell is the Canadian actress-turned-filmmaker's first direct venture into autobiographical territory — a treacherous landscape for any storyteller, but one especially potent for Polley.
Job searching? Our Classifieds page has a listing of current job opportunities from Sojourners’ extensive network of justice-oriented nonprofit organizations, churches, educational institutions, retreat centers and more.
Every Christian is an "undocumented foreigner"—in the world but not of it. Learn more about Strangers in the Land, a six-week devotional on immigration, the church, and the Bible. From the editors of Sojourners magazine.
A NEW discussion guide from Sojourners!
Dorothy Day says, "Food for the body is not enough...there must be food for the soul." You can say it, too, as you shop with Sojourners' exclusive stuffable, reusable, and durable shopping bag.