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Believing leads to caring, Birmingham

07.22.2013 by André Natta · → 4 Comments

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Legion Field Lion. lensman20/FlickrI recently stumbled across an online discussion that included what turned out to be an issue of semantics. It hinged on the understanding of the words believe and care.

I had my own thoughts on the discussion, but figured I’d do some research first. It helps to know the definitions of the words we’re talking about. The definitions I’ve included here seemed to fit the context of the discussion best (though I did link to the full lists of definition for both words just in case):

Believe – to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
Care – to feel interest or concern

It was interesting to me how believe was a verb showing faith or acceptance, while care was one showing action. It got me thinking about a phrase that’s appeared several times in both the spiritual and civic realms:

“Faith without works is dead.”

We who believe in the future of Birmingham must also be able to show what we’re able to do to support that belief. That’s the difference between believing and caring. I’d argue you can only believe or not believe; there’s not much grey area. There are, however, many ways to show how much you care about someone, or in Birmingham’s case, something. You’re basically demonstrating the extent of your belief – something I’d argue is desperately needed locally as we prepare to move forward.

I care enough to write about my beliefs and dreams for the future of Birmingham here and elsewhere. There are others who leverage the power of critical mass via petitions and online forums to demonstrate concern about issues they believe affect the future of the city. A few brave souls have decided to throw their hats into the proverbial political ring hoping they can show residents and school children just how much they believe in the city by not caring about the messiness that comes with municipal campaigns in Alabama’s largest city. Still others choose to cheer on every positive development in the metro area while willingly doing verbal and digital battles with those not as eager to admit changes are coming. Sometimes when local businesses show how much they care about a new effort underway, you can even give someone reasons to believe in Birmingham all over again.

It’s important as this cultural revolution continues to evolve in Jones Valley to point out that how you choose to show you care shouldn’t matter as much as the fact that you do. It’s tough to show concern for (and possibly tougher to disagree with the common opinion about) something you don’t have a strong opinion. It’s nice to also remember that if everyone went about doing the same thing, life (and this city) would get pretty boring – quickly.

You have to believe in Birmingham before you can truly care about its future. Luckily, it ends up becoming a viciously grateful and encouraging circle of action – thank goodness for that!

André Natta is the stationmaster for

Photo: Legion Field Lion/ lensman20/Flickr.

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Andre Natta
Andre Natta

His commentary points to one way to move forward, as does mine. We do need citizens, but we also need to find ways to avoid finger pointing and accusations of not really believing just because they're looking at something a different way. The only way to become a citizen is by believing in what potential lies ahead. Thanks for the comment.

Naomi Anderegg
Naomi Anderegg

I care, and I believe in the potential of Birmingham. But it's a kind of conditional belief. If the people of Birmingham (who are awesome people, but can be a bit apathetic at times) step up to the plate and do what needs to be done, Birmingham has the potential to be magic. Sometimes I see that magic now. Sometimes I don't. In any case, I believe that the potential is there. On the other hand, if we don't do what needs to be done, Birmingham could sink into despair. I don't believe that it's destined for greatness regardless of what the people of Birmingham do. (As Captain Planet would say, "The power is yours!")