Saturday, November 10, 2012

Money Can't Buy You Change

This week, I want to wade ever so carefully and gingerly into the world of politics.  No, I don't want to make any outright political prognostications, or statements - except to say that the city of Colorado Springs, in general (99% Republican), is in a deep state of grief and loss about the election results of this past Tuesday.  I have literally altered my sermon outline for 2013 to include an entire series entitled; "Restore - Coping With The Grief and Loss that All of us Face."  (This new series is prompted in part by the grief experienced from the election, for many people in my community).

No, in this week's blogpost, I simply want to reflect on the age old truism that money cannot create change.  To paraphrase the Beatles who sang about how, "Money Can't Buy You Love," I want to state emphatically that;

Money Can't Buy You Change!

Here's the Facts: More money was spent on this recent Presidential election than any other Presidential election in United States history.  Depending upon the source that one sites, the amount spent by both Presidential candidates hovers somewhere between $5.8 billion dollars (Politico), and $2.4 billion dollars (Time).  Each candidate individually spent cash (as opposed to money given to Superpacks) in ranges hovering just below the $1 billion mark [$934 million Obama, $881.8 million Romney].  And here's the thing I am hoping to drill home.  What did this money buy the candidates?  Effectively, the change of only two states in the entire electoral college map (Indiana and North Carolina.)  Indiana and North Carolina were Obama states in the first election in 2008, and they went to Romney in 2012.  No other states changed from the election year 2008 until 2012.  None.  Nearly $6 billion was spent to change two states...

One wonders if it might have been more worthwhile to simply pay individual residents of the states of North Carolina and Indiana to vote a certain way.  The payout for residents of both states would be something in the range of $20,000 per person.  That would have been a lot of college loans, credit card debts, mortgage payments, that could have been paid off.

Now, I am not saying that money can't buy you something.  Money can buy you a whole lot of stuff.  Money can buy great vacations, money can buy dream houses, money can buy wonderful cars, money can buy awesome clothes, money can buy a lot of food for starving people in third world countries.  Money can buy a lot, but money cannot buy change.

Jesus knew this.  Jesus knew that change (META - turning) (NOIA - thinking) only really happens from above.  A wise preacher once told me that repentance, "metanoyia", is like God pulling the strings on the puppets that we occupy as humans.  We can't move/change ourselves, only God can.  Jesus also knew that one of the seductive qualities about money is that it seems powerful enough to change almost any earthly dynamic.  When the rich young ruler comes to Jesus and finds that he is lacking in the area of revenue generosity, Jesus says, "It is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  Jesus knew that one of the reasons for this is that the very thing, commodity, that we humans feel is a change agent, is the same thing that is also a corrupting force.

So, how does real change occur in an individual or a system?  My experience has been that it requires time.  Change requires diligence.  Change requires a fine attention to the souls of individuals who want to change.  The leadership of an institution or an individual body must be willing to change.  Change happens from above.  Change requires full commitment or a group effort.  An organization cannot change on a level that outpaces the leader's ability to change.  Change requires two steps forward and one step backward.  Change, to quote the poet, William Butler Yates, "comes dropping from the veils of the morning, dropping to where the cricket sings."  Change happens slowly.  True change happens permanently.

Most of all, change requires the presence and the active participation of the Holy Spirit!  But, Money Can't Buy You Change...

"Everybody tells me so..." (Beatles)

All For Now,

1 comment:

  1. As a member of First Pres and a Democrat I just have to correct your assumption about colorado Springs being 99% Republican. Based on El Paso County presidential election results the reality is closer to 59% Republican. also, as someone who has experience terrible personal loss I certainly hope you won't focus much on grief from the Republican presiential loss. What a trivial thing!