The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Cat Chapin-Bishop, best known (to me, anyway) for her Quaker Pagan blog, also keeps an environmental blog. Her most recent post concerns her efforts to stop generating plastic waste… efforts that have been less than perfect.

I feel the same way at times. I do some very good, very responsible things. I also do some things that aren’t particularly helpful. Does that make me a hypocrite?

Cat says “Purity is a pretty trivial obsession, in the context of all the competing demands to do good in the world. That’s not a rationalization: it’s a reality.”

One of the commenters has an excellent addition. “Why bother? Because that process of decisions and discernment has changed YOU.” She goes on to quote Catholic social activist Dorothy Day, who said that that her work was not about being effective, it was about being faithful.

Go read Cat’s post, and the comments – it’s well worth your time.

We can’t fix all the world’s problems. We can’t even fix all our own problems. Don’t let the desire to be perfect keep you from doing the good you can do.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.


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