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Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Live Like You Give a Damn!" (Tom Sine)

TITLE: Live Like You Give a Damn!: Join the Changemaking Celebration
AUTHOR: Tom Sine
PUBLISHER: Eugene OR: Cascade Books, 2016, (pages).

There is a renewed energy growing. This is not about the establishment, the successes of the past, or the words of the rich and the famous. This growing phenomenon is in the young people living in ways the past generations have never seen before. Hold your horses people. The younger generation is back and they are changing the world in more ways than one. They are not the "whatever" generation who do not care. Instead, they are passionate about their ideals; energetic about their ideas; and are already making a difference in the world at various contexts of their lives. How are they making a difference? Tom Sine, author of "Mustard Seed vs McWorld" has noticed several ways in which the younger generation have done so and are doing more and more. The key purpose of this book is not just to describe the innovative changemaking initiatives that are happening, but to invite readers and people from other generations to be excited, and to join in. Rather than to lament on the so-called declining Church, why not celebrate the wonderful imaginative work done by those 35 and under? Instead of focusing on activities pertaining to Church only, what about extending it to neighbours as well? Tom Sine and his wife Christine lives in a an intergenerational community house where they participate in gardening, cooking, and various forms of hospitality and service to neighbours and friends. Sine prides himself as a "disorientating" person to help others think out of the box.


They set off with a tour to help us sample the various changemaking celebrations happening in cities. In San Francisco, Sine was awed by the many events on Social Entrepreneurship geared toward reducing the poverty and injustice in society. He describes two streams: "Social Entrepreneurship" and "Community Empowerment." The former focuses on the improvement of social enterprises to scale well so as to have a positive social and environmental impact. The latter enables neighbourhoods to create sustained and mutual places where communities can flourish as people. Like Aaron Jones who started Fikay Eco Fashion which not only hires local women at twice the hourly rate but equips them with skills for life. While Jones focuses on concrete wallets, Katie Metzger and Danielle launch Same Thread to enable women to do Thai fabrics and natural dyes at respectable wages. Even the well-known Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York has entered the changemaking wave. Other imaginative ventures include Jessie Mehrhoff who started a group called "Green Teens" that are ambassadors for environmental care to advocate more recycling, more composting, and more reusing of the earth's limited resources.

Changemakers are those who are able to identify new opportunities in changing environments; to define a sense of purpose when engaging on the new opportunity; and to develop innovative ways to engage those new opportunities. What really makes this book up close and personal is the many conversations the author has with such changemakers. He applies these ideas to community building; to social enterprises; to non-profits like churches; and also to personal and purposeful living. It is Sine's way of showing us that we all have much to learn from the Millennial generations. If we can catch a bit of the wave of energy and innovations they have, we are poised for being changemakers ourselves.

Sine has a very optimistic view of the next generation, which is important. Far too often, the older generations have unwittingly allowed pessimism and sarcasm to dominate most discussion about the young. We have all heard about the dwindling number of youths in churches; the apathy of young people toward traditions; the seemingly individualistic and materialistic modern career minded yuppie; and so on. It is time to burst out of such a bubble and to see the other side of the vibrancy and energy of the young. Sine has done us all a favour by giving us a positive and enthusiastic applause of what the Millennial generation is doing. We have much to learn. I think the most important point I take away from this book is the need for humility. The humility to learn not just from the young but from anyone. Learning is more about the attitude of the heart than anything else. When we are humble, we can learn well.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.

conrade

This book is provided to me courtesy of Cascade Books and SpeakEasy Reviews in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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