Books: To Change the World


This is a re-post from my former blog:

The continual theme of this blog is that there is and can be a purpose to life – not a “meaning” per se all neat and tidy, but a direction of hope that begins here and now.  In every season of life there is a longing for the next, a faith that somewhere else something else will be better.  This could be true of course, but unless we are faithful in the littleness of now it is unlikely that we will see the greatness of tomorrow.  Perhaps even if we are faithful we will miss out on greatness, but we will not have missed out on faithfulness.

I just finished James Davison Hunter’s “To Change the World,” in which he argues that we really can’t change the world but that we ought to be faithfully present in our particular time and space.  “Faithful presence commits us to do what we can to create conditions in the structures of social life we inhabit that are conducive to the flourishing of all.”

In the end of the book he lays out what Christians involved in the arts ought to be doing to foster “shalom” – that is peace.

“To demonstrate in ways that are imaginative and compelling that materiality is not enough for a proper understanding of human experience; that there is durability and permanence as well as eternal qualities that exist beyond what we see on the surface of life.  In this, they must show a depth and complexity to people and the world that defy the one- or two-dimensional existence of modern life.  In the process, it is possible to symbolically portray possibilities of beauty and fulness we have not yet imagined.  In architecture and urban planning, the challenge is to create spaces that go beyond mere efficient functioning to places that respond to our deepest needs for safety, sociality, and human scale-living; places that retain or encourage the development of the distinctive imprint of individual design and craft.” p.265

This made my heart sing!  This inspired me to see myself, as a mother, as artist and architect of my home.  In the movie “Inception” Ariadne wants to be the architect of dreams because she sees how limitless – how all encompassing the medium is.  How much more for an at-home-mom!  First to hold them within my womb and then to see them first thing every morning and tuck them in at night.  To either care for myself or delegate each aspect of clothing, food -excrement even.  No wonder I feel drained and exhausted -each day I am crafting a world.  No wonder I feel guilty – I could never craft a good enough one that would sufficiently equip and free my children to establish their own worlds.  That insufficiency is why I must cling to the grace of God that I am forgiven for my insufficiency in Christ.  I must cling to the sovereignty of God and trust that outside of my world-crafting and my next door neighbor’s and the president’s that beyond it all and through it all the Artist’s hand is ultimately at work to bring good out of evil.

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