Politics, capitalism and religion; three institutions that are failing us badly. Why? Ego, self-interest and self-preservation are rampant in all three and have made a mockery of them. Think about it. The most immediate connotation ascribed to each by most people is a negative one. When spoken out loud, these three words often come out as epithets dripping with sarcasm and disdain. They’ve become the equivalent of swear words for many.
“Politics” is equated to power plays and self-serving actions. Elected officials often represent themselves and special interests rather than strive for that which is the greater good.
“Capitalism” is viewed by many as the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer; the rich skirting the fringes of ethical and moral boundaries to make more money while the poor become more and more dependent upon government to assist them in their struggle for survival.
“Religion” is often seen as a crutch for the weak, as out of touch with the real world, as factions taking argumentative positions on moral issues which often results in name-calling and the denigration of those who disagree with their views.
We see examples of greed, power and lust in each of these institutions on a far too regular basis. As a result, we the people have largely taken one of two paths: 1) we’ve joined the faction of choice and have become a part of the problem, or 2) we have become disenchanted disengaged and apathetic towards these institutions believing we are powerless to cause positive change. Path number one has often led to violence, war and civil war. Path two has usually led to complacency and apathy and the ultimate fall of countries and civilizations.
What’s missing in each of these three important institutions…politics, capitalism and religion…is stewardship. Stewardship of basic human rights and freedoms, stewardship of financial and environmental resources, stewardship of love, mercy and grace toward one another…such stewardship would give rise to a new optimism, to hope, faith and civility. Stewardship leads to possibilities instead of positionality…the staking out and fighting for a position come hell or high water.
Unfortunately, the failure of these institutions spills over into our personal lives and we begin to behave in the same ways in our home, our church/temple/synagogue, our work, and in other relationships. We become arrogant and self-serving and yield to the temptations of greed, power and lust. We become members of “the fallen.” It’s a vicious cycle as members of the fallen continue to become leaders of our institutions causing the cracks in the foundations of politics, capitalism and religion become larger and larger.
Why can’t we all just get along? No one person, political group, business enterprise or religion has the corner on truth. Constructive dialogue regarding our differences is necessary and useful. Done with a true sense of stewardship such discussions would lead to beneficial solutions for the good of human kind rather than rhetoric-filled divisiveness, name calling, anger and hatred for others and their views that in the end serves no one.
There is a lot of ground that must be reclaimed if the institutions of politics, capitalism and religion are to once again become powerful forces for good in the world. Regaining that ground begins with you and me. It’s clear our institutions are not going to save us as they exist today. Change begins with the individual. Stewardship of basic human rights and freedoms, stewardship of financial and environmental resources, stewardship of love, mercy and grace toward one another must become a part of our personal fabric, we must live it on a daily basis regardless of the influences to the contrary around us. It will take courage. We will be swimming upstream. But as we “pay it forward,” the influence of such stewardship will grow and eventually become a groundswell for good in the world…of service to our fellow human beings. After all, isn’t that what we are here for?
If you agree with this post, please “Like” it and pass it along to your friends. That’s how groundswells begin.
Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and the courage to be a good steward…a force for good in the world.