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Sunday, April 10, 2011

History is now

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Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.

Arnold J. Toynbee

I haven’t been a good blogger lately because I’ve had a lot of papers to write for school - most of them about different social problems currently facing the United States. For these assignments I'm supposed to identify the underlying cause of the social problem, categorize it within the discipline of sociological theory and then discuss different methods to resolve or alleviate the problem. I’m sure this won’t come as a huge galloping shock to anyone, but there’s an awful lot of problems out there and I don't mind telling you this hasn't been a whole lot of fun.

It's really been kind of a depressing process to dive head first into discouraging pool of society’s ills. It’s easy to be overcome with a feeling of futility and hopeless melancholy by the sheer volume of troubles that threaten to swamp society’s boat. Those of us that come from a Christian tradition have grown up with the looming specter of a biblical Armageddon. And as I read through what feels like millions of articles about the millions of problems in the world, it’s hard not to think about that knock, knock, knocking on the world’s door.

But it’s too hard to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other if you’re always worried about the future of the world. As a student of history (really I am…literally a history student) I’m actually comforted by the fact that the worlds been a mess for a really, really long time. There really hasn’t been any point in history when things have been idyllic. Well, if they were idyllic for some, they were oppressive and stifling for others. And so it is now. We are faced with so many problems - drug abuse and crime, war and poverty, immigration and strife, racism and discrimination, homelessness and unemployment to name just a few. But it is encouraging in a way to remember that now it’s just our turn - this is our time and our problems. It is our turn to strut and fret our hour upon the stage and see what changes we can make. After all, History never looks like history when you’re living through it.

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