Common Conversation On the Road to Creating Common Good

“We all know how important it is not to ignore or deny the bad news all around us. If we do, we aren’t being honest, and we won’t be motivated to work for change. But finding and passing along bad news is pretty much a no-brainer. The real challenge is opening our eyes to the good news! And seeing the possibilities within us and between us is just as important to working for change as candor about what’s wrong.” ~Parker J. Palmer

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The Big Class is over 1,100 people strong now, and there are some thought-provoking and life-changing conversations going on in the discussion forums.  People care about this issue of economic inequality. People are committed to understanding the problem and making a change. People are overwhelmed but hopeful. Because as Dr. West says, it’s a good thing to be overwhelmed: it means you’re paying attention. But being overwhelmed doesn’t need to lead to despair. As Christians we have great hope, and we are called to spread the Good News, to live out Jesus’ radical Gospel of love, of service to the poor, the marginalized, the outcast. We’ve been given intelligent minds capable of reasoning, and we can use them to create solutions, to take risks, to enact the future that is God’s dream for all of us.

Here are just a few comments from participants in The Big Class:

“I long to see the church offer a genuine alternative to the culture of consumption.” 

“I like to evaluate economic growth based on empowerment.  How many people’s lives are made better? How many are brought out of poverty?  If wealth is just circulating amongst the same small percentage of people, then the growth isn’t very relevant.” 

“If we give up hope, then we have no ability to affect the system or improve it. If we submit to the overwhelming feelings, we become useless in making a contribution to the world. What more is there to this life than making a positive contribution?” 

“Vulnerability takes away the power structure. It levels the field, is healing, and goes a long way toward creating goodwill–a good first, second, or third step in creating common good. However, too often pride and arrogance keep us from spiritual maturity, and from taking the risk of vulnerability.”

Won’t you join us? Let your voice be heard, push yourself to think and pray and talk about the gross inequality in which we are all complicit. The Big Class continues for free until January 21, and Trinity Institute 2015: Creating Common Good runs from January 22-25.

Thanks to our co-sponsors, Forward Movement, Trinity Institute, and the Episcopal Church.

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