I think we're talking past each other. What I'm talking about is this kind of "tikkun olam" notion of us being needed to save the world ourselves.
Well who else is going to do it? God gave us the ability to fix it so why not actually do something? Sounds like Calvinism not to.
What this does in practical spiritual terms is deflect the goal of our good deeds from humbly following Christ's commandments
No it doesn't. Ever think that perhaps Christ's commandments consists in doing good and helping the world around us? Ever read the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus? You're setting up a false dichotomy of "works" or "following Christ's commandments" which IMHO echoes Protestant thought.
...to a very prideful and self-exalted vision of ourselves as the world's saviors, without Christ.
No one ever said anything about isolating Christ out of it. I'd glorify Christ through helping the world.
Your nonchalant, quasi-Stoic attitude toward suffering is something that disturbs me greatly. I don't see what better way to serve Christ than by helping to save the world around us. This should be our ultimate goal--not merely the pick-n-choose religious-right goal of giving to charity when we feel like it because it gives us a giddy feeling inside--but our true goal, to save the world around us through Christ.
As Mor once said, you're cute when you try to do theology.
Seriously, though, this is about the internal motivations for following Christ's commandments, not whether or not you should follow His commandments and love your neighbor and care for the poor. If your internal motivations are skewed, your good deeds have no salvific value, so you'd better be sure your motivations are correct.
We have prophecies in Revelation and the saints that basically tell us the world will get worse and worse and more and more sinful and further from God. This kind of indicates that nothing you personally do is going to fix this cosmic situation; only Christ at His Second Coming will fix it. All you can do is work out your
own salvation by battling against the temptations of the world. Part of that involves battling avarice by giving freely of your wealth and possessions; part of that involves battling envy by not desiring the wealth and good fortune of others. If you can save yourself, that's really the best you can hope for. Don't get self-important, prideful ideas that you are going to be responsible for fixing the world's ills, ideas which harm rather than help the goal of salvation.
NM has a point that in truly Christian societies of the past, like Byzantium or Russia during certain periods of history, you could observe a real world effect of everyone struggling to live according to Christ's commandments. You did start to see improvements in society and how people in general treated each other and themselves, not to mention the increase in piety and love of God. But even then they didn't exactly perfect
the world, and those periods were short-lived. And we only observe those effects because each individual Christian was struggling to work out his own salvation, and moreover they had a Christian ruler who was obedient to the Church's teaching.