In a post-industrial town, churches reimagine mission.
This is a welcome development: Call them the debt crisis dissenters. The two parties are miles apart on how to cut the deficit and national debt: Republicans want to slash spending even more. Democrats want to raise revenue. And then there are the other Democrats — the ones who reject the entire premise of the current high-stakes fiscal fight. There’s no short-term deficit problem, they say, and there isn’t even an urgent debt crisis that requires immediate attention.
The fear is palpable. The Obama supporters feel that a Romney presidency will completely erode our safety net, so that only the rich will survive. Women feel like any gains that they have eked out in society for the last few decades will be taken away completely. The Romney supporters think that we need to get someone in there who knows about business, or else our economy will collapse. They worry about the looming deficit and an oversized government, so they want Romney to make the tough decisions.
Unemployment is a human crisis. Yet the Obama administration, Congress and the Fed mostly act like it's not their problem.
In our corner of the economy, excellent pastors got fired and many took wage and benefit cuts. In some cases, the congregations didn’t realize that their decrease in membership was a national trend that had a lot to do with shifting demographics.
Per usual, Ross Douthat is in this post occasionally wise but often infuriating: It’s useful to think of Obama’s stimulus bill and Walker’s budget repair bill as mirror image exercises in legislative shock and awe, and the Tea Party and the Wisconsin labor protests as mirror images of backlash. No, that really isn't useful at all.
Since the years of Reagan and Thatcher, we have heard a steady drumbeat about the limitations of government. But what about the limitations of the free market?
Church leaders can appreciate the challenges that St. Paul's has faced. Yet there is something profoundly right about a moral protest in a cathedral courtyard.
We have the tendency to define adulthood, and even ourselves, by our employment and our ability to exist independently. But in our difficult economic situation, isn't it time to rely on our rich theology and redefine our notions of self?