Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Long View

Reinhold Niebuhr's perspective helps me stay focused and faithful when immediate initiatives seem insufficient or partial

I ran across this excerpt of Reinhold Niebuhr, quoted from his book The Irony of American History. The excerpt is in a book on urban ministry titled Redeeming the City and the authors place the statementat the beginning of a chapter that challenges change agents to address systems with principles, patience and persistence over a lifetime.

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend and foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness."

John Franklin Hay 
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

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