Rules For Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul Alinsky, recommended to me by one of the most effective evangelist/organizers I’ve ever met, includes this aside:
“Each year for a number of years, the activists in the graduating class from a major Catholic seminary near Chicago would visit me for a day just before their ordination, with questions about values, revolutionary tactics, and such. Once, at the end of such a day, one of the seminarians said, ‘Mr. Alinsky, before we came here we met and agreed that there was one question we particularly wanted to put to you. We’re going to be ordained, and then we’ll be assigned to different parishes, as assistants to — frankly — stuffy, reactionary, old pastors. They will disapprove of a lot of what you and we believe in, and we will be put into a killing routine. Our question is: how do we keep our faith in the true Christian values, everything we hope to do to change the system?’ That was easy. I answered, ‘When you go out that door, just make your own personal decision about whether you want to be a bishop or a priest, and everything else will follow.’”
Saul Alinsky, Rules For Radicals (New York, 1971), page 13.
How to be insignificant: reach for your own self-defined significance. Big-deal-ness undermines itself. Ambition demotes.
How to be significant: forget about your big plans and obey Jesus radically in sacrificial ways that make no sense unless he himself is the reward.