Saturday, March 1, 2008

Little less talk and a lot more action Part II

I found the clear benefits of shutting down major means of distraction and focusing on the job that had to be done. It was impressive to see how much I got down if I quieted the *noise* that so easily distracts me. Writing sermons is sort of like that email that went around when I was in college about "how to write a college paper". (Can I say that it still cracks me up to read it, mostly for how TRUE it was/is???)

But this post isn't about that--mostly because this post was. This post is about other areas of life--areas where I think we need a little less talk and a lot more action. Areas where I wonder if my time spent blogging should actually be spend doing something. I mean really doing something. Areas where I can't help but wonder why it's so simple (and necessary??) to raise $85 million each for the presidential campaigns, but seemingly impossible to raise that money to fund after school programs, homeless shelters, medical care, mosquito nets, potable water, micro-loans, or simply food for those in need both nationally and around the world.

I mean really, what if we say, this is it, you have the information you have, and otherwise we'll rely on national media--the news (that is their function right??) to provide you with information about the candidates and all that money they would have spent slandering one another, making million dollar commercials, and the like, we'll use to actually change the world, rather than just talk about it?? Honestly, I'd go for the candidate that says, "I appreciate the support you've offered through your giving, it's impressive, and I hope that I continue to have your vote through the end of this campaign, and as a show of my actual and real commitment to the issues I've been talking about, I'm gonna put this money where my mouth is." Isn't that the kind of candidate you could go for??! A little less talk and a lot more action. I dig it.

To be fair, I can't just point the finger at public figures and call upon them to take such actions. I also have to take a good hard look in the mirror and wonder if I'm just talking a good talk rather than walking the good walk. Am I spending too much time doing superfluous things that don't actually matter in making a difference in this world, or have I invested my time, money, and energy into things that will make a long standing difference in the lives of others (or even my own life and development as a person)?

Part of my Lenten discipline has been to give up TV. It wasn't hard since my actual television is sort of on the blink. I just decided I wouldn't have it fixed until later and would give up TV as a part of Lent. And while it has only seemed like a minimal sacrifice, it has been really powerful. I've been bored at night, which makes me see how much time I spend vegging out watching TV. (Most of which is not the discovery channel or A & E where I might actually learn something, but rather "Clash of the Choirs" or "Dance Wars" or "Law & Order"--entertaining? yes. Food for the brain? Not so much.) As such, with all that extra time on my hands, I've been wonderfully, okay maybe just fairly, productive. I've read books. I've had more Bible study and prayer time. I've broken out the UFOs and set to work (and now have 3 quilt tops ready to sew!) and an almost finished wall hanging. And I've been pondering this whole "little less talk and a lot more action" thing quite a bit. What if I worked on public policy with my free time? What if I volunteered more? What if I wrote my senators and representatives more often?

And acknowledging how much unproductive time I have during the day, I can't help but wonder about other people and their *wasted* time. What if we all did something meaningful with our veg time? Don't get me wrong I am a FULL-FLEDGED proponent of sabbath and self-care, but I think there's a lot of fluff in our days, where we don't a whole lot done, what if we changed that? Couldn't we change the world?

I was talking with a mentor the other day and he was talking about how he grew up in the 1960s and it was a time of radical thought and radical activity. And how he looks around now and sees all the technology but doesn't see it bringing us closer together or toward something greater (in the existential sense). I joked (but in all seriousness)--"yeah, you'd think that now that we can communicate and do things 10 times faster that we could also change the world 10 times faster."

I can't help but wonder how much good could be done if instead of making youtube videos people tutored young children. Or instead of hours of reality TV if we worked on rehabilitation of released inmates. What couldn't we accomplish with a little less talk and a lot more action?

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