Friday, January 22, 2010

asking better questions

With so much hard news, I needed something hopeful. After the Supreme Court ruled that corporations should be at least as well-protected as people; as a U.S. group created an all-white basketball league; as we wave goodbye to healthcare reform; with 10% of our US population out of work; and Haiti only the most recent nation to mix natural disaster with human economic misery, it was good to see Jim Wallis' most recent message: "Rather than join the throngs who ask, 'When will this crisis be over?' we should rather ask, 'How will this crisis change us?'"

In his new book, Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street and Your Street, Wallace writes: "The worst thing we can do now is to go back to normal. Normal is what got us into this situation. We need a new normal, and this economic crisis is an invitation to discover what that means. Here are some of the principles Wallis unpacks for our new normal:

• Spending money we don’t have for things we don’t need is a bad foundation for an economy or a family.
• It’s time to stop keeping up with the Joneses and start making sure the Joneses are okay.
• The values of commercials and billboards are not the things we want to teach our children.
• Care for the poor is not just a moral duty but is critical for the common good.
• A healthy society is a balanced society in which markets, the government, and our communities all play a role.
• The operating principle of God’s economy says that there is enough if we share it."

I do not believe that the Bible is the best or only place to seek answers, but I do agree with Wallis that our current situation is a chance to wake up and change our lives, individually and collectively.

"When will this end?" leaves us passive and dependent; "How will this change us" restores our agency and makes us interdependent. Thanks, Jim, I needed that.


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