Let’s build a better alternative within our cities in great good cheerfulness. That is the essence of the Constantine strategy in the face of perilous times.
Our cities represent a chance to serve. Forget what is wrong for just a moment and think about what can be done. There are jobs to create, lifting people out of poverty. Create new solutions in health care, education, or social work and try them out. Volunteer at a charity. Serve on your church board and make things better.
Perhaps just now most of us should take a time out on crying about what is wrong until we put the same amount of effort into practical solutions to the problem. Do you care about issues related to immigration? Spend as much time helping a resource center as you do protesting on either the right or the left about what frustrates you.
There is a time for anger, but anger that is righteous will come from love. The godly leaders of the Civil Rights movement loved the community first and so grew angry with injustice, but the beauty, dignity, and glory of the African-American community was primary. The affirmation that “Black is Beautiful” by creating glorious culture made the leprous hand of White supremacy obvious and gave force to denunciations of injustice.
For many Americans (including me) our situation is not comparable to that of African-Americans facing Jim Crow or the aftermaths in our own time. There are injustices we face, and political problems to be solved, but most of these should begin by doubling down on what we are for.
Of course, giving an opinion, even a forceful opinion, every so often is important, but as I reflect on my own life, a little goes a long way. People who care about us know what we think, but they would be helped most by what we do. We need justice, but we need just people seeking justice and then marching against injustice.
I must begin my search for a more just society by being just to my co-workers, the people who help me in stores, the member of my church who is “different,” and my own family. How can I love the masses whom I have not seen, when I cannot love the person in the other political party whom I have seen?
How and why you do a thing can matter as much as what you are doing. Two people could start a food kitchen. One might be motivated by guilt or hatred of the “other” food kitchen in town. The second person is driven by love of the people in his community who need food. We all know that both will feed folk, so doing some good, but the tone will be totally different. This matters. After all, food grudgingly handed out from duty is different than the joyful feast our Lord provides.
A college run from fear may have the same courses as a college founded for the love of a style of learning, but one will be a miserable place and the other a joyful place to work and learn. This matters, because we are are human and not equations. Give a person four of something beautiful will be much, much better than giving them four of something out of terror.
If you start your business, school, ministry, or political group, because you hate or fear a thing, then hate and fear will be at the heart of what you do. A person who embraces the Constantine Strategy builds a new city for the love of Rome and Roman ideals. He may not be able to save all the old city, so he does something new. He need not destroy Old Rome, but can even honor Old Rome in building New Rome. This new thing can help the best of what was old survive new times. The beautiful church of the Holy Wisdom was not built because the Roman Christians feared the rising barbarian hordes, but for the love of God and the Savior.
The sign of the Cross is the sign of humble, self-sacrificial service and in this sign, the command to protect and create beauty, we can conquer our own hatred and fear.