Friday, June 22, 2007

Irresponsibility

There was a fad awhile back when "motivational" posters and mugs were everywhere... you would see them in offices and school classrooms, even police stations. You still find them here and there, but they are no longer the rage. As with all clich├ęs, they wore out quickly. I'm not knocking motivation by a long shot, but our culture's quick-fix mentality has evolved like a fast-growing cancer, even in our motivational thinking. We expect fast food for eating, fast cars for driving, fast computers for googling, fast relief from ailment, and a fast-track to success. Anything short of fast must be bad, or old, or wrong.

I found a site called Demotivators® here that takes a different tack... most of them are tongue-in-cheek, sardonic and skeptical, but they carry an underlying truth that life is not always going to be lemonade out of lemons. Sometimes there's just no water or sugar to be found.


This one on irresponsibility is a good example. Yesterday my friend and I were discussing some of the logistical problems with feeding the homeless. Volunteers staff the feeding program at his church, and the most prominent excuse for not volunteering is "What can I do? I'm only one person." The unspoken flip side of that is: "since I'm only one person, it's not my fault that you don't have enough volunteers."

Jesus was absolutely clear on who's responsibility it is to love your neighbor, to care for the vineyard, to feed his sheep, to do justice. We may try to wiggle out of any (or all) of those commandments because in this country we've been inoculated at birth against hard labor, dutiful response to others' needs, serving the common good.

But... as the flood of our irresponsibility rises, at some point we're going to run out of higher ground.

1 comment:

Leanne Shawler said...

I love the Demotivators. They're a popular Christmas gift around here. I've seen the Irresponsibility one and I'll have to get it now. Although where can I hang it up at church?... Hmm...

My church recently financially supported a small group of 4 people who have made an amazing impact on peoples lives: from the wounded servicefolk coming home from war to Katrina victims and it really struck me that this very small group *was* making a difference.

Hmm, I'm going to have to write an article on this for the church newsletter....