Disclaimer: I have actually been going through a life change myself, so all apologies on the tardiness of this post. That being said let us begin.

Oh Martyrdom. In Water’s post Curt Flood and Reggie Bush he espouses this ultimate sacrifice for change, and in Wheat’s response Inertia and Catalysts he speaks on the idea of change being the daily effort made in the name of principles. So to continue using our duly elected leader as an example, maybe Water is suggesting that Obama should have gone all the way and proposed nationalized healthcare for all. Of course he would have failed, but he would have in effect “loosened the mayo jar” so the next guy could open it. Although you can’t see it, I’m smiling fiendishly, because I’m sure this was not Water’s intention for our Healthcare.

This reminds me

This reminds me of a story with Wayne Gretzky, Nolan Ryan, Michael Jordan, and Brett Favre. Actually, before proceeding much further I should confess that I have been declared by my fellow ingredients to be asportsal, which is a sad lack of any sports acumen/fervor/inclination. There is no story. Those just happen to be the only sports names I know. However, I do seem to be showing an inclination for dorky science analogies, so here goes: I think another way to describe what wheat is talking about (without killing anyone off in the process, is through kinetic/potential energy. Wheat describes a paradigm where a person must give up potential power through using it. When the ball is at the top of the hill it is nothing but potential, but as it rolls to the bottom of the hill bouncing and bustling with this moving energy, the potential diminishes.

Whew, I’m breaking a sweat with all this athletic prowess and what not.

Wow That’s Messed Up

Also, Wheat offered up the sad prospect that people don’t change, and asked me, the resident expert on change if this was indeed so (I think he was baiting me).

In high school I was introduced to George Hegel, the German philosopher, by my brother. Well, not personally, since he is dead and all, but introduced to his ideas. In a book on his philosophical contributions I read “change is growth and growth is life”. About a decade later in graduate school I was asked by a supervisor, “What idea is the basis for your practice of social work? What is your starting place?” and this was my answer. This belief does not come from a Cracker Jack box with an accompanying pair of rose colored glasses. Change can be hard and painful, and it does not have to be in a positive direction. The crack addict can quite possibly find a new low to depravity in the clutches of addiction. Sometimes I feel my humor is growing darker and darker. But, and this is a big but, if change is an inherent part of life, then that means there can be change for the better, however small, hard fought, and painfully it is come by, and that is cause for Hope. This same logic could be used to promote despair, but that is strictly a choice an individual must make. “Will I be a sad, sad hopeless steamy pile or not?” Like the scene from Office Space, where he tells the counselor, “every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”

I’m really a hopeful, cheery guy …deep, deep down in my heart.

I think the real struggle is to push towards change for the better, and I agree it takes hard, hard work. Now I’ve never known sleeping on concrete or explosive diarrhea and vomiting after a drug binge, so I can’t say whether or not poverty and addiction are comfortable, but I imagine that they are not. I would agree with Wheat’s statement about change requiring a person to get over inertia and get started before change can happen. My old boss worked as a social worker supervisor at a nonprofit and one of their interview questions was “Why are poor people poor?” This is a great question, because the answer is multifaceted and complex. If not we probably would have figured out a solution by now. That being said, I will have to address that particular topic in another post.

I think this is the cause of Christians: not to be good but to constantly become good. Of course we get an assist with this – “Behold I am making all things new”. Going back to comments on martyrdom, I think that quitting should not be about trying to change a system, because by quitting you are disengaging from it, and that smacks of poor sportsmanship, taking your ball and going home. Knowing when to call it quits is about assessing a situation for the ability to change it and if you cannot, then deciding whether or not the system might change you. True martyrs die solely for their beliefs, not because change will come in their wake. The change that comes after the martyr’s death is once again the decision of the people left living in the context of the situation working towards betterment. That’s a change you can bereave in. All kidding aside, change can happen and does happen all around us, it is most often difficult and not always for the best, but that is why it requires effort. If there is the chance for positive change then there is cause for hope.

Post Script:

I ended the original post there but I missed a significant piece given the vastness of change, and this message is timely with the season. Water talked about big change, Wheat asked about smaller continual change, and Wheat also asked me about the hope of real, lasting change. In my original post I failed to mention that not all people hail from Texas, where our Nephilim are born with bootstraps to pull themselves up by. Some people need help. They need grace, whether it is the grace of God or a fellow human being. Here I am on Christmas night considering how God chose to send us Grace. While Easter should be the Super Bowl of Sunday’s it seems that Christmas often gets more press in the Christian world. Jesus entering the world is not what saves us in the way that his death is, but the miracle of Christmas to me is that this is how God sends Hope to us, in the smallest and frailest of forms. The Almighty comes as a single cell that divides and grows. He comes as a baby that must be cared for to thrive. So once again we have hope, change, growth, life and the work that it requires. My prayer is that this hope is born in you and that it will be nurtured and grow. It is the salvation of us all.