I Got It Wrong, or Did I?

by DanWolgemuth on July 22, 2022

For years I’ve enjoyed quoting Thomas Friedman in his noteworthy book, The World Is Flat. Nearing the end of this work he sets the criteria from which to judge the worth of a culture. In essence, Friedman says that you “judge a culture, society, or organization, by whether it has more dreams than memories, or more memories than dreams.”

This quote inspires and motivates me. Dreams and memories. Celebrating the past without extinguishing the future. Memories as a foundation, on which the future can be built. As I said, I’ve used this quote on platforms and laptops… frequently.

Yet, over the last several weeks, I’ve come to believe that the character of a culture is best judged by something entirely different. I believe that you judge a culture, a government, a society, and perhaps, even the individual human heart by how it cares for the vulnerable.

The vulnerable. The exposed. The defenseless.

History is littered with stories of leaders, and societies that abuse power at the expense of the vulnerable. Personal or political power with the vulnerable as fuel. Expendable. Grist for the mill.

Personal power, rights and autonomy above all else.

Oliver Warbucks, in the stage play, Annie, puts it this way… “It doesn’t matter who you step on, on the way up, as long as you never plan on coming back down.”

The weak, as rungs on the ladder for the powerful.

The vulnerable…

On urban streets. In under resourced communities. In undervalued neighborhoods. Among the mentally ill. Within the cloistered confines of the elderly. With the unattractive and awkward. With the poor. For those who are unprotected as bombs, planes and missiles fly. For the unborn, and those birthed into unhealthy environments. Even in classrooms… vulnerability exists.

For those who are underrepresented in the courtroom. Undervalued in nursing homes. Unprotected when voiceless. Neglected when powerless. Discarded when intrusive or inconvenient.

This is why the message of Jesus is so countercultural. He left invincibility to become vulnerable. That journey started in the womb of a teenager and ended on the cross of injustice. The vulnerable were a priority in His mission, and the center of His heart. He practiced what he preached.

He said… ever so clearly, that HE WAS hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and in prison. He was vulnerable. Yes, Jesus. The Son of God.

Yet, I can’t help wondering if maybe Friedman didn’t get it wrong. Maybe I did.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s my dream that needs to be recalibrated. Rearchitected. Revisited and revised.

On behalf of the vulnerable. More dreams than memories. A louder voice for the silent. Bolder advocacy for the weak. Increased generosity for the poor.

As stewards. As ambassadors. As friends. As members of the Body of Christ.

More dreams than memories… now, under further review. On the journey to dreaming the dream of Jesus.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: