Posted by: ritagone | May 27, 2015

Ruined or Changed?


restructuring         As you probably know by now if you read this blog with any degree of regularity, I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s blog, which comes to my eagerly-waiting email address every morning, rain or shine. Having become one of the foremost speakers and writers about our culture, I always look forward to what he will have to say that pertains to my world. And he doesn’t usually disappoint.

Tuesday morning’s Godin blog was entitled “The Do Over,” and in it he talks about, basically, how we should approach the re-structuring of anything, from our misshapen personalities to our businesses, when a “do over” is needed to survive. I’m going to reproduce it below because it’s short and filled with much wisdom, and then I’ll make a few comments that apply to what is happening in my world right now.


Our culture places a huge premium on choosing the right answer, as if we’re all on some sort of game show.

Much less credit is given to people brave enough to realize that they’ve made a mistake who go ahead and choose a new direction, a new strategy or a new set of tactics.

When we find ourselves in a deep hole, it’s rarely because we encountered a single terrible glitch. Usually, it’s the result of compounding, of doubling down on a worldview or a stand or a habit that just doesn’t pay.

Given a choice between changing tactics based on data and staying on the road in the wrong direction, I think the best path is pretty clear. The hard part is figuring out what to tell the others. Do overs are possible, but they take guts.


I could really relate to this posting of his because of a confluence of happenings around me. First of all, last month four Christian Associates workers, including myself, Dudley Callison, our President, Eric Curtiss, our COO, and Ann Steigerwald, our HR Director, attended a rather large conference gathering in Dallas sponsored by CLA (Christian Leadership Alliance). There we were listeners to and talkers about an important sea change in the non-profit world: the paradigm for how non-profits raise money is rapidly deteriorating and no longer sustainable by the old model: asking as many people as possible to become donors to the cause, whatever the “cause” might be.

Instead, many non-profits are doing major restructuring of their way of doing things, including creating sustainable businesses they can participate in for an income stream to their general funds.

This is something that the leadership of CA has long been aware of, wrestling with, and praying about, this shift in how a ministry is funded. While of course we wouldn’t turn down a hefty check from someone who believes in what we’re doing (!), we recognize that most of those donors come from the “older generation,” those who are used to writing checks each month to their favorite causes, month in and month out, for years and sometimes decades. The Millenials, that generation which receives so much attention everywhere now for their likes and dislikes and habits, don’t give the way their parents or grandparents gave. It’s not good or bad; it’s just different, and it is having and will continue to have a profound effect on the future of many non-profits.

When Godin says “Given a choice between changing tactics based on data and staying on the road in the wrong direction, I think the best path is pretty clear,” he speaks directly to what we at CA are endeavoring to accomplish: a change of course, a restructuring, if you will, as to how we fund the important work we believe we are doing in key parts of the world.

“Do overs are possible, but they take guts” is perhaps the understatement of the month for me. It’s always a frightening prospect to change course, to do something entirely new, to take risks that you would rather not take, remaining in the pan, just like the famous frog, and ignoring the rising water temperature until you are finished, or, in the case of the frog, you become someone’s appetizer.

W.H. Auden wrote: “We would rather be ruined than changed,” and that thought has echoed in my mind and bounced around my thinking for some time. Is this true? Is it true of me as an individual, that I am so resistant to change that I would rather continue doing and being bad? I certainly hope not! And I hope with equal fervor that it proves to be untrue about CA, because ruin means not only ruin for us as a ministry but a certain removal from the possibility of redemption for many people now and in the years to come.

I’ll get more specific next week, so consider this Part 1 of a two-part blog. Next week I’ll share some enterprises that we as a ministry are already involved in or are looking to become so. I think, dear reader, you will be challenged and inspired yourself to see where change in your own life might be necessary!

As Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy once said: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

So while change often needs to start with me – and with you – we’ll also see about change on an organizational level and what that means. So for now I hope you’ll give some thought to the concept and reality of change, both culturally, spiritually, and in your own life where needed.

As my son Matt would say: “Stay tuned!”



  1. Great blog. Thought provoking. And we will stay tuned….looking forward to it. 🙂

  2. Love this Rita and looking forward to Part 2!

  3. Thank you Rita, what a good and timely word.

    Greetings and blessings from Germany!


    Sent from my iPhone


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: