There’s a certain entrepreneurial impulse I’ve always admired. To an entrepreneur, problems are opportunities. Read enough business books—or watch a few episodes of Shark Tank—and you’ll recognize the pattern. Someone experiences a problem and solves it with a new business model or product.
It’s human nature to get tripped up by the problem itself, to assume it’s here to stay, or to cynically pass it on to someone else. These days we’re awash in business models that “work” for one group of people at the expense of another. Retailers sell cheap goods crafted by those who barely make a living wage. Media outlets produce content designed to court grievance and controversy rather than empathy. But God has called his people to seek justice, and Scripture focuses on root problems, not merely their outward effects.
Our cover story (p. 40) showcases 20 Christians who have gone further than a surface-level treatment to address such problems. These producers, musicians, writers, and designers saw the world as it was and sought to make it better.
We can all do that in our own spheres of influence. Even without a business model, it’s possible to change the lives of our neighbors and families for the better with an outlook that puts others before ourselves. The church especially has an inherent incentive to look beyond economic motivations and felt needs toward the holistic benefit of others.
Nowhere are problems more evident to me (this is my professional bias speaking here) than in the online world. Thanks to social media and the drive for web traffic, true dialogue and insight are often hard to come by. On Facebook and Twitter, everyone is talking, but few are listening. Put in terms we at CT can understand: Everyone is a writer, but few consider their audience. This current reality is a far cry from what the Internet at its best could be. I see the Internet as a tool to help us reckon with viewpoints different from our own, expanding our world beyond our assumptions and local culture.
With this in mind, Christianity Today recently launched two podcasts. “Quick to Listen” is a weekly look at current events with an eye for their hidden complexity. “The Calling” is a weekly conversation (not merely an interview) with church leaders about their vocation, with an eye toward presenting a full picture of how and why local church leaders do the work they do. We’ve also launched a new section online focused explicitly on the local church.
If you want to know the people and organizations that most consistently seek to construct and create with an eye to the good of their neighbor, look no further than the body of Christ on the ground.
Follow RICHARD CLARK on Twitter @TheRichardClark
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