Some excellent reflections on the state of America in the early days of the Obama administration from the indispensable Jonathan Schell.
Rumors of the demise of the Christian Right have been greatly exaggerated.
According to one of my favorite writers on economics, Dean Baker, baby boomers in the U.S. have just lost the largest amount of wealth of any age group of people in the history of the world.
Here’s an argument that small-scale, organic farming can play a major role in addressing the global food crisis.
The new coalition purporting to bring together politically liberal and conservative Christians to overcome poverty is deeply flawed, according to this article, by an entirely too benign approach to the role of wealthy people in fostering poverty.
A report on the hard times being faced by many of America’s small cities–including, in this article, Elkhart, Indiana.
All the “Around the Internet” links:
Some random reflections from the front lines with homeless kids on the South Side of Chicago. So Peter Laarman doesn’t much like anything that isn’t in lock step with Jeremiah, or at least his interpretation of Jeremiah. (The late Marlin Miller once said that people generally don’t disagree on what the Bible says but rather on what it means.) The test of poverty policy isn’t what line it takes (liberal or conservative) but what LONGTERM outcomes it produces — unkindred thoughts to the prophetic voice. (The luxury of the prophet is never having to govern and never having to prove anything.) It seems to me, after seeing the the ebb and flow of poverty policy over the last 50 years, that sometimes one side gets it right, sometimes the other side does, and always both sides get it a little wrong. A suggestion for Laarman is to come spend some time with us and I think what he’ll find is a strange mixture of the some of the most so-called progressive people calling some of Chicago’s most desperately poor kids to some good old fashioned values like accountability, pulling yourself up by your boot straps, setting goals and not allowing your past, no matter how brutal, be an excuse for failing to meet them. Really, I mean it. It’s an open invitation.
Thanks for the thoughts, David. I don’t know Laarman or much about him. I thought his critique was interesting but I certainly grant that you are much closer to the types of issues he is addressing than I am.
What I feel I can talk about is your dismissal of “the prophetic voice.” In fact, it seems to me (based on the information we have, at least) that Jeremiah in fact was about the only one who actually perceived what was going on in ancient Judah and even if he couldn’t stop the self-destruction of that society he at least did serve to keep a remnant of that peoplehood alive for potential future recovery.
Sometimes that is most realistic thing one can hope for. We dismiss the insights of the prophets at our own peril if our hope is to achieve something that at least approaches the truth.