The growing of goodness

I am doing some reading at the moment on Jesus as the Healer,and decided to give Google Scholar and Google book search a go. Go Google! Great stuff available at my fingertips without leaving my lounge. I came across an interesting excerpt from Phillip Yancey's "The Jesus I never knew". It has very little to do with my topic of interest, but got me thinking anyway. Reflecting on a trip to Russia (and a brief overview of some of its colourful political history), Yancey writes that goodness "can not be imposed externally, from the top down, it must grow internally from the bottom up" (page 76). If this statement was not true, communism would be a beautiful thing, and Russia would have been the socio-political envy of the world. So we can't legislate goodness and its various relatives such as kindness, mercy, generosity, integrity and so on. Maybe that means that we actually don't depend on Howard and other world leaders to cement these traits in our culture? We can't ignore the impact of politics on our everyday lives, rights and access to justice, but perhaps we give away too much of our own personal power when we leave the betterment of society to our leaders. These things need to bubble up in our own lives and spill out to affect those around us – in a similar vein to the movie "Pay it Forward". Maybe this is not so far removed from my original topic after all. The way in which Jesus lived in his society permanently changed those closest to him, and countless subsequent generations. Jesus impacted the world "from the bottom up" even though you could argue he came from the "top down".

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2 thoughts on “The growing of goodness

  1. In some ways working from the inside is a lot more doable, despite it being difficult at times. Perhaps we don’t see the worldwide implications and surely it’s not as gratifying (acclaim wise) but far fewer of us are famous and can do something that’s broadcast in such a way.

    I like your thoughts on this.

  2. Thanks for visiting Bec! I am enjoying looking at your blog too. I guess the ocean is made up of a gazillion little drops of water… so we can make a difference. BTW, that wasn’t my clever thought, but a paraphrase of Mother Theresa, one of the world’s significant little drops.–>

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