Rainn Wilson and staying focused in a culture with a short attention span…

Just the other day on the wild and wonderful world of Twitter, Rainn Wilson [Dwight of ‘The Office’ fame] posted the following tweet:

What do we want!? Justice!! When do we want- Oh look Anthropologie’s having a sale!!

I think this tweet is an insightful critique of where we find ourselves in the 21st century. Thanks to smart phones and social media we are more hyper-connected than ever before. We are more aware of what is happening in the world. When there’s violence in Egypt, we can follow it in ‘real time,’ instead of waiting for tomorrow’s paper.

And, inevitably, certain things inspire a swell of empathy, sympathy, and compassion from us. We are moved by a cause, by an injustice, by some darkness that needs to be dragged out into the light. The problem, however, is that we don’t stay focused on the issue long enough to bring real, lasting change.

We want justice…but our desire for justice is trumped by the latest sale, or Kardashian news, and what had our attention for 15 minutes or so is now old news, another fad that couldn’t survive our over-indulged, over-blown appetites.

And I’m not talking about you. Or the Kardashians.

I’m talking about me–about my own habits and tendencies to be taken off track by the smallest things.

To see real, measurable, and lasting change in the world–for the poor, the oppressed, those on the underside of the wealth and power of the world–we must commit to it. Not a flaky, fly-by-night commitment, but a real, intentional commitment that actually costs us.


A commitment that demands much of us, not just our fleeting notice.

Rainn’s tweet beautifully critiques our present situation, but it also calls us to be more. I don’t want to be the kind of person who moves from cause to cause due to the fact that I don’t have the wherewithal to actually give my blood, sweat, and tears to something that matters.

I don’t want injustice to win because Anthropologie has a sale. And I bet you don’t either. So, we must choose.

Awareness over ignorance.
Engagement over indifference.
Intention over randomness.

So, thanks for the tweet, Rainn. We need to be reminded of what matters most.

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