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How Should Christians Engage Society?

That is the question addressed in To Change The World : The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity In The Late Modern World by James Davidson Hunter. He is the LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. In short, a man who knows something about something!

The book seeks to address how Christians should engage themselves in the modern world. But it is more than that because within this book he explains to us how cultural change comes about. I was particularly struck by the simple but not so obvious idea that cultural change is not democratic but comes largely from overlapping networks. We certainly see this in both Amerindian and African independence struggles. We also see it today why many Zambians have failed to bring about a paradigm shift in thinking. The majority may want a different Zambia but the majority don't run the country. Equally vital are Hunter's perspectives on the nature of leadership, in particular how all of us are leaders in different spheres of influence and therefore inherently accountable for how we exercise those gifts and areas given to us by the Lord God.

The best compliment I can pay this book is that it has helped me define both the reason why I should keep this website (many a times I have considered abandoning it), but also the purpose for this website - which is first and foremost to honour God and by extension to ensure that it contributes towards shalom for our poorest. For there's no greater cause in this world than to ensure that the research and economic analysis all make a huge difference to the "least of these". By extension it has also helped me define how best to contribute to meaningful positive change. In seeking to change our country, we must be strategic. It is more important to be heard than to shout. As I said, the point is not to feed our egos but to feed the poor. There's a faithfulness needed in ensuring the blogging is of high standard (poor and unresearched pieces dishonours one who made us and those around us). It is also vital to have positive relationship with those who may be at the opposite end of our views. I am more interested to see some of our biggest issues addressed than score political points. So we gotta be passionate, objective and loving at the same time.

This may just be a life changing book. I am thankful to a good friend who recommended couple of years back. I like wise recommend it strongly.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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