I think I can't, I think I can't...

I love the execution of this magazine ad for We Can Solve It.

The colors and concept are simple and fitting. The continents are comprised of adjectives that describe people: "Elevator riders, Those who rock, Coal Miners, Tourists, Athletes, E-mailers, Those about to rock...." And the copy brings it all together for us: "You can't solve the climate crisis alone. But if we all work together, we can."

Clever use of the w's, too, no?

In a similar vein, I also like the creative and engaging website from We Are What We Do, "a movement inspiring people to use their everyday actions to change the world." (Thanks for the link, Bryce from Auckland.)

The Movement
These are just two of countless examples that herald the possibility of solving the world's problems. And they are compelling because they break this Brobdingnagian task into bite-sized, individualized pieces. You'll notice that as of August 6, 2008, We Can Solve It boasted 1,457,923 participants pushing, and We Are What We Do displayed 1,775,852 actions acted. Not too shabby for just two websites.

The Rub
- Am I responsible for doing my part? Yes.
- Can I affect change? Yes.
- Can I collaborate with you and your friends to affect even greater change? Yes.
- Have individuals and communities changed the world before? Yes.

So what's the rub? Well, at some point we're going to run out of Can-power. Even if every person did everything possible to change the world for good, there is a point at which our collective capacity will come to its end.

I don't want to say it too loudly, but the truth is, I think I can't, I think I can't.... More sobering still, I think we can't, I think we can't....
I explore this further in a Catapult Magazine article called "Melinda Mae Missiology."


M.joshua August 7, 2008 at 5:16 PM  

The biggest issue behind the whole "we can" idea of much of the contemporary Environmentalism campaigns is that they wreak of Modernistic excessive confidence.

We Pomos are buying the concept with credit cards and we're not afraid to file for bankruptcy should we need.

In contrast, I love what you said about Melinda Mae Missiology; specifically in reflection of Hebrews 11. If we could adopt a charismatic victorious eschatology that incorporated that kind of long-term fidelity, we'd be far more likely to abide by it.

Sam Van Eman August 7, 2008 at 9:56 PM  

Thanks for tuning in. On the one hand, there is this "excessive confidence" you mention; on the other, that same confidence indicates a serious load of forward, even hopeful, thinking. So we're gung-ho about taking the future into our own hands (which, as I argued, is rather presumptious), but simultaneously showing that we're interested in a better future than our present.

This raises a question for me (thanks for the kudos on the article by the way). I wonder - if we believed that God truly were the ultimate fixer of all broken things - if our actual behavior regarding the future would look any different. In other words, if we let go of the reins and considered life as having "a future not our own" (Oscar Romero), how different or similar would our behavior appear on the surface?

So, I'm holding to my position that I think we can't, I think we can't..., but would the appearance of our future-oriented efforts change?

Red Letter Believers August 8, 2008 at 12:00 AM  


I am a little amazed at all the people around me who really think they are "good people" just because they throw their napkin in the compost container, or they chose organic toothpaste or they think torture is wrong.

Fundamentally, none of us is "good."
"All of our (self) righteous deeds are as dirty rags" says the Bible.

That being said, I did think the web site you linked to was pretty good. I even checked off a couple of things..."learning a greeting in another language" and "getting physically fit." And smugly, I hit "finished."

But in the end, do we truly satisfy the soul, just by 'doing things'? Your point is good, though. "Enough talk." and that is a great place to start.


Sam Van Eman August 8, 2008 at 9:53 AM  

Good reflections, David.

Last evening, my seven-year-old daughter entered my office with a list. It was neatly written and she was beaming. On it were nine good deeds she had done without solicitation yesterday.

At the number one spot? Breakfast in bed for mommy and daddy. She can click "finished" on that every day if she'd like. :)

Was her list mis-oriented? Was it ultimately selfish or Godly? I don't know. She's seven.

Mark Goodyear August 12, 2008 at 12:18 PM  

Sam, I'm completely amazed at your article over at Catapult. (And your cool literary allusion to Gulliver's Travels.)

I'm working on a post about this over at HighCallingBlogs.com.

Sam Van Eman August 12, 2008 at 1:27 PM  

You're too kind, Marcus. I'll be sure to check out the post.

L.L. Barkat August 14, 2008 at 5:26 PM  

Oh, yes! I love the use of the "w" so that we get "we" and "me" at the same time. Genius.

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