Although ministers like to think of themselves as members of the professional middle class, they are hanging on to that status by their fingernails. Male clergy especially are pursuing their vocations despite a strong “fear of falling,” to use Barbara Ehrenreich’s phrase.
In this new millennium, globalization and pluralism are preoccupying themes. Theologians across the spectrum struggle with both, as do businesspeople who work in global markets, executives who wrestle with “spirituality in the work place” and parents who care about preparing children to live in this globalized and pluralistic world.
At a recent Rose Garden ceremony, former President Jimmy Carter presented President George W. Bush with the final report of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform. This high profile event took place only a few weeks after the release of the Constitution Project’s report on election reform and a Cal Tech/MIT study on election technology.
Fanny Makina, a farmer in Malawi, is tilling her plot of land with a hoe and spade. Next she will plant crops of corn, peanuts, squash, beans and cassava, and mark each row carefully with a stick. In most years, Makina harvests enough food for her family and has food left over to sell. Even in years of limited rainfall, she has income to buy fertilizer and other supplies.