Part of my doctoral work is to look at how certain attributes of Mindset (Carol Dweck’s work in book of same name) can lead us to personal and organizational growth. One of those attributes is accepting criticism as helpful feedback for improvement. Often when we hear criticism we get defensive and push back against it – remaining in a fixed mindset that leads us to remain as we are.
The optimist in me does this all the time. “We are not broken! We are doing well! We are helping our neighbor! Things are getting better!” While I believe my optimism is helpful at times, if I don’t step back an really look at the situation, we can’t move to the next stage in transforming the world.
The global issues in regards to poverty are heartbreaking. 1.2 billion people in the world are poor. Half of those are destitute. Most of them have to defecate in the open. Most have severe under-nutrition. Many have lost 2 or more children due to their poor conditions. (www.ophi.org.uk/multidimensional-poverty-index) While most of the people in these categories live in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa, my corner of the world is not immune.
There are many places in our community where we could improve the standards of living, work toward removal of poverty, grant access to dignified employment, and reduction of societal inequality. Even though our community has a “higher than national average” income level ($65k median per household) we also still have 12% of our community living below the poverty line. While that percentage is not quite as high as the national average the disparity of income levels creates a disconnect that further magnifies the societal inequalities.
While many pat ourselves on the back and cheer that we are “better than others,” who will speak for the 12%? Who will give them the voice they need and bring them to the table? The picture above represents our brokenness. I could have easily taken a picture of something around the subsidized housing complex that might give you a glimpse into the life of one of Coweta’s poor, but what I want you to focus on is that it is not the poor who need fixing. It is our brokenness that needs forgiveness and restoration. We need to find ways to work together to fix the systems (that we help to create) that are causing the problems. And we need to mourn that all is not right. Once we feel that and let it touch us deeply, then we can move on.
Isaiah 6:10 Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed.”
We’ve become dull and numb to this present situation. May we mourn our ignorance and grieve our brokenness.
Until Everyone Hears,