For Christian activism, there are sacrifices. The question of “Are the achievements worth the cost?” are applicable for any such activism. Otherwise, any achievement can become a pyrrhic victory, one that may put you ahead for a while, but you ultimately cannot sustain the initiative.
As a case study, what if a Christian organization spent a half million on a successful advertising campaign, then laid off 200 people just in time for the holidays? Is that really caring for their employees? Will their joy at succeeding put warmth on their plates this holiday season?
If you say that’s a pyrrhic victory, then I’m sad to say the example is true. Focus on the Family spent over $600,000 promoting Proposition 8 in California that “saved traditional families,” but couldn’t run its shop well enough to save Christmas for 200 of its own presumably traditional families. [snark] Maybe they should focus on their own families. [/snark]
The same sort of short-sightedness is sadly commonplace, especially in institutions. Oral Roberts University in Tulsa announced 100 layoffs….oh, and a $440,000 severence package for their outgoing president who mired ORU $50 million in debt.
The secular world is a mirror-image. This week, the Big Three automaker CEOs came to DC to ask for help amidst layoffs of thousands of workers. Great, except did I mention they came in their private jets. Wow. Like a senator said: “It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo”
So, what’s the hack for this situation? We will always sacrifice for whatever cause or activism that we believe Jesus calls us to. This tendency is commendable, even if the cause is not one you believe in. But the important hack that must be done here is that you care for the people involved in the cause.
Our churches and institutions are struggling in this economy. The question is how are we going to best proceed forward with our causes AND ensure that the people involved continue to get a paycheck and continue to provide for their families and are involved in their communities.
May the shortsightedness of our leadership fail to recognize that any victory is temporary, any trouble is temporary, but when all is said and done, you need people to continue to witness, and sacrificing them at the altar of a pyrrhic victory is not sustainable.