We do pathbreaking work so that we can help ourselves and others find the way

We do pathbreaking work so that we can help ourselves and others find the way

A quick Google search of pathbreaking leads to this definition: “pioneering; innovative; trailblazing”. Finding or creating new paths where there is none before sounds very exciting but it is very challenging. It is full of risks and it demands time, material, and even political resources to effectively pursue.

Pathbreaking work, as we have learned in doing action research, is messy, iterative, and non-linear. It is not comfortable; it is not for the faint of heart. Pathbreaking work requires courage and stamina to try and try again even if the short term is filled with so much pain and so little gain.

A very practical person can reasonably conclude that there may be no need to reinvent the wheel; why fix something that ain’t broken?

But that is the danger of getting too used to routines. In pursuit of efficiency, we may be mistaking ourselves to be robots instead of humans who need meaning and purpose. And to see ourselves as mere cogs in the machine is to feel lost; and in a way, this is more dangerous, because we fool ourselves into thinking we know the way when we really do not.

Moreover, the vocation of the pathbreaker is to resist the temptation to keep the spoils and treasures for oneself and not bring others to the newly discovered or created path. The vocation of the pathbreaker is not to claim power with an iron fist, but to reclaim our collective humanity by extending a helping hand.

Luke 15:1-10. Who would not look for the lost?


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