"If We Really Wanted to, We Could ... " Complete the Sentence with Your Favored Cause: End War, Eliminate Poverty, Achieve Educational Equality, Eradicate Racial and Ethnic Prejudice, or Whatever
Neuhaus, Richard John, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life
"If we really wanted to, we could ... " Complete the sentence with your favored cause: end war, eliminate poverty, achieve educational equality, eradicate racial and ethnic prejudice, or whatever. No, we can't. We can often contain evils and sometimes reduce evils, but we cannot abolish evil. Nor is it a Christian virtue to think we can. To think we can is a prideful and thoroughly un-Christian idea that becomes particularly odious when joined to self-flattering but empty gestures. This observation is occasioned by a press release from the government office of the ELCA Lutherans. "More than 1,500 members of the ELCA were among the 110,332 U.S. citizens and 23.5 million people worldwide who stood up during worship on October 15 to fight global poverty. The 'STAND UP' event set a national and global record in the Guinness World Records for the largest number of people to stand up for a cause.... Lutherans across the U.S. participated in the event organized as part of 'ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History,' in cooperation with the United Nations' Millennium Campaign.'" Better than half of the Lutheran stand-ups were in three congregations. In one Minnesota church, "52 people stood for a moment during worship, 14 of whom participated in a house party later that day" to discuss and act on global hunger and poverty. Were I in the congregation that Sunday, I would not have stood up. Not because I don't care about world poverty but because one should not contribute to the delusion that …
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Publication information: Article title: "If We Really Wanted to, We Could ... " Complete the Sentence with Your Favored Cause: End War, Eliminate Poverty, Achieve Educational Equality, Eradicate Racial and Ethnic Prejudice, or Whatever. Contributors: Neuhaus, Richard John - Author. Magazine title: First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. Issue: 173 Publication date: May 2007. Page number: 62. © 2009 Institute on Religion and Public Life. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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