To: The next generation of tikkunistas

From: A middle-aged fellow tikkunista

Subject: Unsolicited advice

Date: January 2011

If we’re committed to tikkun olam—the healing and greening of God’s beautiful world—we must think short-term and long-term. And we must engage in short-term activity with the long-range mission in mind. Long-range, our work will never end (this side of whatever eschaton there may be), because when we solve one problem today, new ones will arise tomorrow, sometimes involving the unintended consequences of our best solutions to yesterday’s problems!

That means that long-range, we need to do three things. First, we have to have the big story in mind—the big “arc of the universe” as Dr. King called it: not a harsh and dominating metanarrative, but a liberating story of God’s Spirit active in our world. That big story constitutes a sense of calling; we know what...

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