Jumping Off the Cliff of Social Change

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Ruth McCambridge


Over the years I have been involved in a number of movements for social change and each of them has taught me something about the patterns and rhythms of such efforts. But there was always a point at which I felt I was throwing myself off the cliff of the accepted into some cauldron of unknown forces and outcomes.

Here I have attached an article from our Winter issue, “Driving Social Change,” by Dr. Paul Light. It is well worth a read if you accept that change is not wholly driven by the rational, well-plotted plan, efficiently implemented. In fact, Light does lay out very clearly the recognizable patterns and rhythms of breakthrough social change but he also acknowledges that cookbook recipes fall short of the mark.

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Here is a small excerpt drawn from a section of his article that addresses the role of perseverance in change – and of faith in perseverance.

“Faith is at the center of perseverance. It is based on a sense that there is something bigger than the self. Faith is not rooted in known experience or empirical facts. Rather, it is built on the belief that change involves a leap into the unknown and the risk involved. As such, faith often involves a belief that there is a helping hand, a larger force, and even an unflinching protection somewhere beyond the change itself. Faith is an activator, comforter and sustainer.”

In my opinion, Dr. Light has a remarkable way of synthesizing patterns; of exposing them and thus helping us work with them. Let me know how you like this piece and what your own thoughts are.