“Commit to something you believe in,” was the title of one of the twenty-two email messages that greeted me when I signed on this morning.
I considered it a bit of a sign, or at least a nudge.
I opened the letter from Sojourners Magazine (I’m on their sojomail list) to find they were asking for donations and subscriptions to their organization. Their logic was I get their stuff and I share some of their passion; I should pony up. I can’t fault their logic, but the title of the email had already sent my mind spinning in other directions.
I’m still wrestling with this chocolate thing. My posts last week generated some ongoing conversations between several folks, not the least of which is at church. Some of us have started talking about how we can become a “free trade congregation.” I like the sound of that. But there’s more. I went back to the Millions website because I’m thinking about showing the movie to my high school youth group in a couple of weeks, and found a link to WaterAid, who says their vision “is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and effective sanitation.” They are doing amazing stuff. I was humbled to see what the five bucks I plunk down for a case of Poland Springs half liter bottles will do in Mali or Burkina Faso.
But there’s more. When I searched to find the Sojourners site, I first typed in sojourners.org and that led me to Sojourner’s Place, an organization in Wilmington, Delaware that helps homeless people get off the street. (Part of the reason I was intrigued is I’ve never actually met anyone from Delaware; I was almost convinced it was a fictitious land, sort of like Narnia or Middle Earth.) Thanks to Bono and others, the “Make Poverty History” campaign is getting necessary and deserved attention. I can go on: Habitat for Humanity, Amnesty International, Compassion, Human Rights Campaign, and the Pine Street Inn (a Boston homeless shelter) are some that get my attention.
The world is bleeding with need and there are a lot of folks trying to do something about it, which is both comforting and overwhelming. Every issue brings a rush of resolve, guilt, hope, and helplessness in me; I want to do something even as I feel incredibly inadequate to do so.
Commit to something you believe in.
I can’t do it all. I can do something. The creative tension that lies between those two statements holds the power to change the world. Years ago, Compassion had a poster filled with cartoon images of people, each one thinking, “What can one person do?” The poster didn’t need a caption. Which leads me, finally, to my point.
Almost two months into this blogging thing, I’m amazed by the sense of community that can develop online. I check in everyday, hoping for comments, recognizing names of people I’ve never seen, yet to whom I somehow feel connected. I want to know what you’re committed to doing. I want to know what you believe in. So I’m asking for links and stories, for connections to the things that matter, for suggestions about how we get off our butts and do as well as talk about what is important.
I’ll be happy to work as a clearing house of sorts, creating a links list so folks can follow up on what we share with each other. I’m hoping for ideas and encouragement for all of us to not feel alone or insignificant in the face of a world so desperately in need of people to believe it doesn’t have to be this way.
I’m looking for a conversion experience here. I want to be changed by what happens here. I want to be called to a life different than the one I’m leading. I want to claim for my own the phrase I see plastered all over the Olympics: “passion lives here.”
Conversion is not a solo sport; neither is life.
All together now . . .