After reflecting further on my post from earlier today, “You Know What Hope Is?” I decided that I had a little more to say. Rather than revise the orignal post and make it longer, or comment on my own post (which might get missed), I decided to just write a new post. I’m allowed.
I was much more bothered by Heath and Potter than by Hunter’s book To Change the World. It is because, for me, Heath and Potter hit closer to home. I was relatively unruffled by Hunter’s assertions that culture change happens via institutions and elites weilding power. I was unoffended by his deconstruction of the hero myth of American Christian’s individual agency as the means to change. To me, it was all fairly self-evident and made a lot of sense.
Yet I walked away from Part I of this book with a different response. I think it is because it hit closer to home. I am that rebel. I am the one that believes that the small choices that I make are little ways of subverting, and ultimately changing, the system. Not exactly Hunter’s “faithful presence,” but in the ballpark. So, when the authors talked about how only consequences matter, not intent, I was bummed. I buy organic and local because I want to be a part of subverting the corporate food machine. I walk places instead of drive and I suffer summers without A/C in order to reduce my carbon footprint. I engage in all manners of defiant, yet not deviant, behavior in order that I may testify to that which ought to be.
To Heath and Potter, however, my efforts are nothing more than a distraction. They amount to no net change in any of the things I’m protesting against. Other than obvious differences in their views on God and religion, I think that Hunter and Heath/Potter are essentially saying the same thing: if what we want is change, protest and rebellion aren’t the way to go about it. I’m sure Part II of this book will get to the heart of what they think will institute change.