Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

5 January 2009

Capitalism vs Communism

"If at age 20 you are not a Communist then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are not a Capitalist then you have no brains."
George Bernard Shaw

I posted this quote last week and had a number of interesting responses to it. Also had a "Hot Topics" discussion about it Sunday at Freedom House.

Some see it as a statement about sheer economics. Some see it as a "you sold out your values" statement. Some see it as a "you'll understand when you grow up" statement. It's actually been a very interesting ongoing chat. One man actually told me a story about tough days living on a commune!

I tend to agree with the spirit of Shaw's quote. Personally, my mind goes to a ministry context when I hear it. I think that sometimes the idealism of the 20's (in this case I'm using, "the world's broken and greedy so let's buck the system and start an underground revolution of love" deal) does get jaded in time. I think some of it is from new responsibly, some is just time, some is because of failures and I think... some is just imaginary. The phrase, "That's just how the world works" enters the prevailing thoughts much easier at 30. But I think that you can go two ways with this.

One is to give up, quit trying to make change, hold on to the ideals of your 20's but making them happen becomes secondary to security. The other is somehow harder to achieve but effective and neccesary. Because at 30... you are in an undeniably different place than 20. To think and act any differently is foolish and denying who you are. So this is where you have to take the "this is just how the world works" and apply your new understanding, in order to change the things you felt so passionate about at 20.

I have chatted with a number of friends in the last little while who have been globe-trotters in their 20's. Bit of the "backpack across the world" adventure types. Great people who have learned lots and now at 30(ish) have some kickin' perspective... but find themselves unable to be effective doing what they've done in the past. Something has changed, it caught them by surprise and their trying to catch up.

I was talking with one friend about my new found intrigue about "creative capitalism" and how I think that the revolution that needs to happen is for the corporate world to re-think how they can both

A) make money to fuel our economy and keep our land prosperous and...

B) solve the large scale issues of poverty and hunger with the money that sits in their coffers.

Most don't believe this beast exists. But I believe it can. We just have to dream, risk and strategize... and convince others to too.

I think that these are the days where, if your passion is Africa... you're not necessarily most effective actually backpacking around IN Africa spooning out cereal in villages. North Americans MUST understand what Africa needs is the resource to facilitate growth and develop the amazing African leaders, workers, and strategists that reside in this gem of the earth. And the "wealth of the wicked coming to the righteous" COMBINED with people of passion will do that. African's don't just need to be fed oatmeal. They are talented craftsmen, writers, and farmers who need people with money to invest in their economies, buy their stuff, and facilitate perpetual growth. Not knocking the other, but we just HAVE to have a big picture here. But I doubt I'd have dug in any further than surface level WITHOUT the idealism of my 20's.

When you're in your 30's, you have to begin to reconciling ideals with the world you're in to make heaven and earth collide. Big Big God and living life on earth. It's not selling out. It's growing.

A jaded friend in his 40's told me the other day that once I'm his age, I'll realize that I can't change the world, and should be satisfied with being a good person and just doing my bit. I almost kicked him. I don't buy that and he shouldn't either. It's quite likely, at 30 when life shifted... he got jaded instead of changed with it... and has found himself a generation removed from changed and hopeless.

When I'm 40... I want to have even more influence with even more influential people to allow God into more places. And that will require me to be different than I am now. Have a bigger view of God, the world, and the future and be ready to sacrifice it all for the sake of the call.

Too often, in our perception, "laying down our lives for Christ" has the default picture setting as someone living in a mud hut. But to most of us... frankly... doing that, would make us ineffective stewards of God's gifts and resource. Because, "I'll do anything" means "I'll do anything"... including changing how we think to facilitate God's movement and fame in a new season of life and time.

This is my, "If I ever get a tatoo" verse. The one I live by more than any other.

Isaiah 26:8

Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.

1 comment:

Patti said...

I agree. In my 20's, I thought I knew it all. As time went by, I discovered that there were REASONS that people older than me thought differently than I did. Sentences that begin with "if everyone would just..." don't tend to work.

That being said - the real challenge to me is making the commitment to stay where you are, do what you do, knowing it's not going to change the WHOLE world, but without it, nothing would ever change. And change is always slower than you hoped it would be, and on bad days, you find out that things you thought had changed - haven't.

But on the good days - WOW!

(looking back at this comment, and not sure it's hitting the topic you were mentioning - but there it is! haha)

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