Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein just released a new book. She was hoping for a blurb from Alfonso Cuaron, director of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Instead, she got this film.

Watch it, but not with children around. Sights and sounds are meant to be provocative.

The video has done what it was intended to do, which is to create an interest in the book, as well as start some discussion, so that’s why I’m posting it.

The biggest thing I wonder about is this statement which is from the economist Milton Friedman. “Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change.”

I think that statement might be true, regardless of how it is then abused by the powers and principalities. The followers of Jesus certainly changed after the death and resurrection of Christ. Alcoholics speak of reaching rock bottom before they improve. People diagnosed with serious illnesses evaluate their lives.

Klein goes from the specific to the general and states that entire nations can be susceptible to the shock doctrine as well. She uses 9/11 and several natural disasters as evidence.

The nature of change is what actually interests me. I have heard it said that change of less than 20% is not really change at all; that incremental changes are just us trying to do what we can when we sense a problem but aren’t really willing to do anything about it.

I’ll use my church as an example. A few years back we went through several months of evaluation and statements of who we are and what we believe as an attempt to make better disciples. Nothing has really changed. We added a program here, scheduled some classes there, but essentially the same things that went on then are still going on.

Contrast that with the churches in Mississippi and Louisiana that are still involved in Katrina cleanup. They are substantially different churches than they were prior to the hurricane. One church with which we’ve partnered still has about 100 people a week that they house, feed and equip to work in the surrounding areas. This is a church that is not much larger than the groups they host.

So can those churches, like the group that I worship with, like me, truly change? Without a catastrophe? Without a huge split? Without a burned down sanctuary? How has your church changed?