Metanoia was birthed when the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina decided they could not be faithful Christians without addressing issues of poverty within their own state. As we have grown, we have become a movement that seeks to become good ground for people to nurture and grow their faith in God and one another. Within our movement, there are people with a wide variety of faith expression as well as those with no faith expression. While we don’t push our Christian faith onto others, neither does anyone have to check their faith at the door to become a part of our work.
We are rooted in a theology of the kingdom of God as expressed in the ministry of Jesus Christ who called everyone to a “metanoia,” or transformation of heart and mind, if they were to participate in God’s reign. It is a Greek word that is frequently used in the New Testament. Jesus uses the verbal equivalent of this noun (Mark 1:14) as the first response to his announcement of the kingdom of God. It is frequently translated “repent” in our English Bibles, but “metanoia,” as Jesus uses it, has deep meaning beyond what we usually think of when we think of repentance.
Metanoia is about making a positive change in our lives and in our society. Metanoia wrongly understood is a guilt-ridden awareness of all that is going wrong in our lives and society. Metanoia properly understood is a push forward toward something better for us and for our world. It is a positive change that brings us closer to what God intends for God’s creation. Break down the word and we see that its first syllable, “meta” in Greek literally means “with,” “noia” means understanding. Metanoia is not change for change sake, it is positive change with deep understanding of the implications.
Metanoia Community Development Corporation is an attempt to embody the priorities of God’s kingdom in our world. In the beginning of his preaching ministry, Jesus names “metanoia” (making positive change) as the first step toward the kingdom of God.
We seek to recognize Jesus’ call for all of us to engage in metanoia – seeking the kingdom of God through promoting positive change in ourselves, in our neighborhood and in our society.
We look to foster metanoia within ourselves. We are asking one another to turn from former habits that were destructive toward actions that mold us into the fullness of who God has created us to be. And we recognize that this kind of change needs to begin with each of us as individuals.
We are looking for metanoia in our neighborhood. We recognize that a variety of forces, some within our control and others outside our control, have left our neighborhood without many of the resources that can make it a safe and affordable place to live. As neighbors of faith, we are pushing together to strengthen our community — to make it more like the kind of neighborhood God intends.
We are pushing for metanoia within our society. We recognize that God calls everyone make the changes that will move us toward kingdom priorities. That means calling for change within our neighborhood AND outside of it as well. We are pushing for positive changes that make a more just society for all citizens regardless of race, economic status or sex. This means calling for metanoia in the halls of our business, government, educational and church institutions.