Surveys tell us that this 'rising' generation, more so than the one previous, wants to be involved in making the world a better place.
But what price (if any) are we willing to pay to do it? Do we genuinely want to be thought of as countercultural activists...but only if we don't have to leave our couch?
This is a question that has changed the life of Eugene Cho, a pastor (Quest Church), activist (One Day's Wages), and author (Overrated). He sat down recently with Biola Hour host Mike Ahn to discuss how to not only love the idea of changing the world, but how to actually do it. For Cho, one way Christianity is countercultural is that it embraces "downward mobility," rather than the "upward mobility" that has become engrained in much Western culture.
But what is "downward mobility"? Is it embracing a life of poverty, forsaking all belongings? Cho says it's more nuanced than that: "It's asking the question: Why do we constantly have to be in this race to upgrade everything? For me, downward mobility is to embrace a life of contentment...to proclaim that Jesus is enough, in a culture that says, 'You don't have enough!'"
However, saying that Christians ought to be activist about justice and economics and social and political structures is reopening an argument that's already over a century old: Should we be about justice and making this world better, or about evangelism, and calling people to the next world? For Cho, the Gospel involves both, not either/or: "As we read the Scriptures, I think both of these are very apparent. So it concerns me when, in the church, particularly among young people, we abandon one for the sake of the other. Both are so essential."
If God is speaking to you about social justice, what now? There are so many needs in this broken world; is it hopeless to even try? Where to start? First, Cho says we should be working to put our own lives into a Gospel-honoring, sustainable rhythm. Then, with a thoughtful awareness of all that's happening in the world, "through prayer and discernment, there might be a couple of more specific things that God is calling us to really devote our attention and our affection to."
For Cho, the question is implicit yet inescapable: If not us, then who? If not now, then when? "We live in a world right now, where 663 million people don't have access to clean water... approximately 40 million people are in some form of economic or sexual slavery... I can't fix it all, but I know that I can impact the life of someone."
Want to learn more, from somebody who's out there doing it?