My brother, as I mentioned, has started blogging again, and I really like his most recent post, here. He lifts a quote from a book (that I got him, by the way...) that says: "Tiny, hesitant improvements are a terrific way of perpetuating a broken system . . ."
In the book Jim references, the excerpt refers mostly to ecological/sustainability issues, but it struck me as an apt metaphor for a life of discipleship in general. How often do we try to do the very least we think God might be asking of us, to avoid the real call from Jesus - "Take up your cross and follow me." I think we're hoping that doing a million little things somehow equals the commitment Jesus asks for in taking up the cross.
My brother goes on to talk about Destiny, the new massive mall/complex eventually opening in Syracuse, NY. Jim writes, "A green mall is more of the same. A perpetuation of the real problems, covered up with green technology. Instead of driving toward that 1000 foot drop-off at 55 mph, we're driving toward it at 35. And since we're going all nice and slow and careful, we can ignore those worriers who tell us we need to turn and go in another direction."
My favorite word I learned in Greek is the word we translate as repentance - metanoia, which means more literally in the Greek, changing the direction of one's mind. (I became stuck on it because the Greek New Testament says that Judas repented. English translations often choose to use a different word to describe Judas' actions.) To repent means to go in a different direction than you've been going. But instead of repenting, maybe we're hoping it's enough if we just go more slowly in the wrong direction we've already been going, perhaps hoping we're at least walking away from God a little less quickly.