What does one do when one is party to something not of her/his making? Is the best option to cut and run, putting as much distance as one can between the situation and yourself? Is there a way of staying involved and being part of the solution while not being seen as part of the problem?
When one is a member of a community, there is a link between being part of something and being party to the group’s actions. Even if one has a contrarian view, one is linked to the broader story. Despite one’s actions (or non-action), one is linked to the choices of others.
As an example, institutions have formal and informal values. The formal values are often distinct from the ones informally adopted by its members. Corporate values are often aspirations reflecting current weaknesses. Said another way, we say one thing while doing the opposite. We recognize this gap and aspire to be better – hence the stated values. While the intent is good, the challenge at the individual level lies in responding to the reality of the present. What can I do?
I can acknowledge the dissonance. It may be as simple as admitting that there have been instances where my actions have been less than ideal. Paul did this in responding to a problem situation. “At least no one can go around saying he was baptized in my name. (Come to think of it, I also baptized Stephanas’s family, but as far as I can recall, that’s it.)” (1 Corinthians 1.16)
I can be part of the solution. Understanding and grasping the aspiration opens a door where I can act. It is in the knowledge of both that the opportunity emerges. Deny the present and the windows disappears. If there is no sense of the aspiration, there is no knowledge of the actions that will take one in the right direction.
You and I are party to life. We may run or hide, but we are a part of a community. The question is what to do with who we are.