My friend Joe Ely brought this Wall Street article to my attention today.  It's a stirring piece on the state of our great institutions and a solution that seems as stunningly obvious as it is brilliantly novel.  We might not be able to single-handedly redirect the course of our great institutions, but we can get up each day and play our part with mission clarity.  Here are a few excerpts from Looking Ahead with Stoicism and Optimism. 
Maybe the most worrying trend in the past 10 years can be found in this phrase: "They forgot the mission." So many great American institutions—institutions that every day help hold us together—acted as if they had forgotten their mission, forgotten what they were about, what their role and purpose was, what they existed to do. You, as you read, can probably think of an institution that has forgotten its reason for being. Maybe it's the one you're part of.

Noonan references the following institutions before continuing:

  • The Federal Government

  • Wall Street

  • The Catholic Church

  • Congress

  • Public Schools

  • Journalism 

And as all these institutions forgot their mission, they entered the empire of spin. They turned more and more attention, resources and effort to the public perception of their institution, and not to the reality of it.

She concludes with the punch, "If you work in a great institution: Do you remember the mission? Do you remember why you went to work there, what you meant to do, what the institution meant to you when you viewed it from the outside, years ago, and hoped to become part of it?"

Before closing this post, I want to make one evangelical connection to this decade-in-review. Christianity Today asked several folks to comment on the most significant changes to Christianity in the last decade. Noonan's article reminds me of Ed Stetzer's response.  It is a short take and I will let you continue the reflection. Stetzer says the most significant change is:  

"Evangelical angst about its current state and future prospects. Evangelicals are trying to figure out who they are and who they should be..." Read more. 
Topics: Date: Jan 2, 2010 Tags: Christianity Today / Ed Stetzer / Government / Mission / Peggy Noonan / Wall Street