If you’ve never written a money autobiography, you’re missing a strong experience of better self-understanding. I’ve written several over the years. Each helped me look at my relationship with money and its deity powers over our world. Me included. Reading aloud my autobiography to a small group and inviting conversation (not critique) adds even more value. It’s part of getting freer from the economic clutches of More.
Entries in empire economics (10)
Telling the Christmas story to include what others leave out can release more of its impact. Matthew does just that. His good model urges us to tell the story as a compelling alternative to versions tailored to fit civilization’s purposes! Here’s what I mean. In the genealogy of the unholy, holy family by which Matthew leads up to the birth event, we are not surprised to see Jesus‘ revered ancestor, King David. But when Matthew makes sure to include the most earthy, least flattering, ego-protecting incidents in this Hebrew hero’s life, we have to know something exceptional is going on. Matthew does it with just one word: Bathsheba.
Artists depict the holy family of Christmas on everything from cards to pieces hung in galleries. One pose that has may variations shows Joseph standing with a staff and looking over Mary’s shoulder. Both of them are focused on their newborn lying in a manger. The scene is iconic and conveys a holy hush.
Mothers and fathers everywhere are photographed similarly holding their newborn in adoration and quiet amazement at this new life now in their lives. Though these poses also hold a sense of the sacred, only Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are called “the holy family.”
Thanks to the technology of the internet I am able to listen to Christian radio from my home city of Chicago even while living in Chiapas, Mexico. Specifically, I listen to WMBI, the flagship station of the Moody Radio Network. On average I listen a couple hours a day and especially appreciate Chris Fabry who touches on deep issues of the human spirit and Nancy Turner who invites guests not ordinarily heard on the station.
By now we see that all the talk about austerity in these economic hard times does not apply to the wealthiest whose wealth has increased as their taxes remain low It does not apply to military spending or the budgets of the intelligence community. It does not apply to the bankers in the too-big-to-fail banks. It does apply to those with no jobs, low-paying jobs, and insecure jobs. It does apply to students in state universities, to people without health insurance, and to many who can no longer self-identify as middle class.
There are two large stories, not one, underway in our lives. The one we hear most about is the story of human civilization; the unfolding story of world events, life in our community, and how we and our immediate circle of relationships participate in this story. This story so occupies what we call “news” that the second large story seems only for specialists who study it. It is the story of the Earth, our planetary home. This story, studied and told by life scientists, geologists, anthropologists, and paleontologists, is really the much larger, older, and dynamic of the two stories. It is, in fact, the larger context in which the human story happens. But for the majority of us, it is a secondary story—like a specialty shop for the few rather than a supermarket for the many.
More and more of us are finding that parts of the story we’ve been living aren’t working. When we talk about what we are doing, some words that flowed and described our activity before now stick in our throat, or somewhere. In our gut or heart or head, other voices are saying, “But it’s not working. You need to change.”
This story which is now failing, I call the multi-Earths story because it takes multiple Earths to sustain it. The endless wars and ruthless competition for the resources of our one planet expose this story as utterly inadequate to fit within the carrying capacity of our planet. That the multi-Earths story is a weakling story is further revealed by its reliance on and animation of lower human capacities such as greed and fear. Its frailty to address such realities as radical inequalities of resources and power, species dieoff, and a rapidly expanding population all convince us that we humans are capable of a far better story.