social change

I recently caught a discussion on CSPAN (I think) about social change. One of the speakers, an African reflecting on the African struggle for what I would call prosperity, equity, and security (from Everything Must Change), listed six institutions that must be strong and involved for profound and lasting social change:
1. The press/media
2. Courts
3. Banks
4. Police
5. Election commission
6. Civil Service
It was interesting that he didn’t list the church. Too often, the church (as a collection of institutions) lags behind and either waits for the change to happen or actively opposes it. But my hunch, and my hope, is that the church (as a community, a movement, a body of individuals) often plays a key but subtle role in deploying robust, honest, and visionary disciples into the press, the courts, banks, the police, election commissions, and civil service institutions – along with education, the arts, and other sectors of our common life. There, they work like yeast in dough, salt in food, and candles in darkness … bringing transformation to institutions which preserve social change and make it normative for future generations.
All of this relates to a theology of institutions … something we need a great deal. A wonderful sage in this field is Jim Emrich, whose work you can read about here.