GOT SOCIAL CAPITAL?
Amidst this irrational turmoil out there, I want to take the chance to express how much I have to be thankful for!
First and foremost, for the assurance that the blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus, the Passover slain for my sins, is more than able to protect me and my family from this or any other pestilence flying out there now! By the way, I was praying with my wife yesterday and it just clicked to me that this might be the very first time ever in America's history that we'll spend our Passover celebration not inside a church, but inside our HOUSES, just like the Hebrews did on their final day as slaves!!! Have you thought how profound this fact is??!!
I am also grateful for the abundant generosity of West Texans who more than supplied our 12-strong group here at home (we're hosting a missionary family of 8 from Africa for a sabbatical here in America) with food, water, toilet paper, everything! As missionaries here, we have been beyond blessed by the active demonstrations of love for us and honor to the mission the Lord gave us to carry out in this amazing nation! May yall's gifts and support echo in eternity and bring you abundant harvests in this life and the rewards you deserve in Heaven!
Third, I am thankful for the new friends the Lord has been bringing us. In times of "social distancing", it has been phenomenal to see how many special people have been connecting with the ministry via Facebook, email or even phone calls! On the other side of this mess, we as individuals and as a ministry will be much much stronger by a brand new network of Patriots!
Speaking of new friends, and this is the focus of this post today, I have been doing my best to follow up all the discussions concerning how the government has been encroaching so shamelessly into our freedoms and liberties right now. If I were to apply a statistical measurement to the contents of the comments, I would sadly say that only about 25% of them clearly understand the dangers arising from this trend. Even many of those who came from oppressive countries, like myself, seem not to bother so much by the government arresting pastors, people paddling alone, charity leaders doing their work outside, drone and google surveillance, etc.
At the same time that I find this number, 25%, to be dangerously low, I can't help but understanding that this remnant is the one who have always saved freedom and liberty in this nation for over 240 years!
Specifically focusing on the clash of worldviews and mindsets, however, I find it to be necessary for the health of the social fabric. As the majority of people I follow up stand on the more conservative side of the political spectrum, it brings me contentment to observe different points of view within the conservative world, something that, I believe, causes others to at least try to comprehend, or on the other hand forces others to hit back twice as hard.
One of my American mentors was/is Dr. Robert Putnam. I'm sure many of you are familiar with his academic work in Italy for 20 years and, of course, here in America, where he came up with the philosophical term "social capital", heavily leaning upon Alexis de Tocqueville's classic Democracy in America. He is to this day, at 79, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Putnam's lifetime belief is summarized in the following quote:
"Citizens in regions of higher civic virtue (of Italy, originally) do not deny the reality of conflictory political interests; even so, they are not afraid of establishing creative agreements" (Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, 2005).
In other words, Dr. Putnam pointed out that, although higher social and political tensions could be easily identified in the areas with higher civic virtues, he concluded that the "referee" to those conflicts was not the government, but the norms, trust and more cohesive social networks observed in Northern Italy vis-a-vis the highly hierarchical, mafia-like ones in the South.
His final conclusion was: civic engagement networks, expressed by the multitude of neighbors associations, credit unions, sports clubs, popular-based political parties, among so many other like-minded institutions, resulted in strong, hardly breakable horizontal interactions. The denser the community network, the more predisposed citizens would be to cooperate toward the well-being of the collective body of society.
I hope to get to meet each one of my new friends and strengthen our friendship ties following this reset of the entire world.
I hope America can return to its roots. It will be a great blessing to us. It will be even a bigger blessing to the world. Believe me!
ELIEL ROSA has built a solid career in the urban planning and public policy arenas in Brazil, Latin American countries, Portuguese-speaking African nations, Spain and in the US for the past 20 years. However, instead of keeping a long list of professional credentials and accomplishments, there is a special, top feature he would want you to retain: he is a diehard America-loving legal immigrant!