Are We Really Saving the World? (Probably not)

As I’ve shared in a previous post, The Presbytery of Chicago offices moved to a lovely new building a few months ago which is shared with various other computer firms, non-profits, and academic offices.  Each time I meet someone new on the elevator, we have a brief chat about where we work. 

Last week, a guy in the elevator asked me where I worked and after I told him he said, “I was hoping to run into somebody from your office!  I saw your sign and have been wondering what you people actually do.”  And I said – with a straight face – Actually, we save the world.”

It was good for a little laugh at staff meeting, but I was not being completely facetious.  I believe that what we do brings a glimpse of the Reign of God (i.e. Saving the World) into view.  Or at least it should.

I moved to Chicagoland from the city that is known for its variety of Saving The World Jobs:  every non-profit working against human trafficking, homelessness, poverty, AIDS, cancer, etc. has a DC office.  Young Americans flock to The Hill to save the world through government.  Others serve through the military.  The neighborhood where I lived in Northern Virginia was filled with former Peace Corps volunteers, women’s health advocates, embassy workers, and teachers.   We were all trying to save the world in our own little ways.

Many of us become cynical and bitter quite quickly.  Our efforts are sabotaged by bureauracies.  The movements forward are baby steps. 

But – I still believe – whatever it is we do to make earth as it is in heaven is worth both the long slog and the swiping away at red tape with everything we’ve got.

My job is both bureaucratic and pastoral.  I have endless rules to serve within, but some of those rules are self-imposed.  Manuals can be changed – and should be – if they bind us in stiffling ways.  Rules are meant to set us free, if they are set well.

A good day for me is when:

  • Somebody’s call is affirmed and celebrated
  • People are comforted, held accountable, inspired, and/or enriched
  • Enemies are reconciled
  • Individuals find holy relief
  • Somebody new “gets it”
  • A vision is cast
  • A vision is acted upon
  • God pops me in the head and reminds me that I don’t know everything

Happy Monday and blessings on whatever Saving the World activities you are about today.

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6 responses to “Are We Really Saving the World? (Probably not)

  1. So, what was the guys response to the fact that your office saves the world?

  2. Just so you know Jan, no one is better at the things you do on a good day then you. When I was out visiting you this past winter I never before had felt so affirmed in my call. I still think I need more Jan in my life :). Thanks for doing what you do!

  3. hey like the pix may i use it

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