Creative Redemption

This blog seeks to explore themes from the Bible, theology, spiritual formation, creativity, and responses to change and conflict to discover how to promote God's redemptive work in his creation.

It Doesn’t Have to Be What It Is

The expression “It is what it is” has always ranked right up there with “Whatever” among my least favorite responses to unpleasant realities. My negative feelings are rooted, at least in part, in a song.

I’ve long been a fan of the 1986 hit by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, “The Way It Is.” (Yes, it’s an oldie, but also a goodie that holds up well in terms of both music and message. If it helps, several rappers, including Tupac Shakur in “Changes,” have sampled the song.)

“The Way It Is” laments the persistence of prejudice and disregard for the poor. The chorus reflects either complacency or resignation, either of which helps keep such evils alive:

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

“It is what it is” and “Whatever” represent alternative versions of “That’s just the way it is.” The closing exhortation of Hornsby’s chorus, however, calls us away from an acceptance of the status quo: “don’t you believe them.”   

What “The Way It Is” doesn’t offer is suggestions for moving from a rejection of the inevitability of evil patterns to effecting change. Even small changes can be difficult, and deeper, complex problems often completely overwhelm us.

Whether as a result of the annual discouragement of failed New Year’s resolutions or the sad stories of Washington gridlock, it’s so easy to become discouraged or cynical about improvement. Resources and examples exist, however, that provide hope for responses other than “It is what it is.”

This blog aims to explore the hopeful prospects for positive change without resorting to simplistic answers or unrealistic idealism. In the process, it will hopefully contribute to a growing community of people around the world who recognize that better alternatives exist to partisan power struggles that promise progress but produce more heat than light.

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9 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Have to Be What It Is

  1. I’m happy to see your blog! I look forward to great things here.

  2. Great to see you blogging, Terry! Perhaps “what is” will become “what we never imagined possible.”

  3. mgray1225 on said:

    Looking forward to your insight! Michelle Gray

  4. Terry, it is good to see you blogging! Can’t wait to read the rest of your posts!

  5. How fitting, timely and appropriate. Wonderful thoughts as usual, so much so that they dust my cookies.

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