I hear a fearful refrain coming from church leaders, from every denominational level. They twist their fingers into knots as they say: If we don’t have our endowment, we will die. It’s our job to protect the endowment for future generations. Our future depends on a healthy endowment.
“You might think,” I told a group of high school students gathered for “Service Day” at our church’s community meal, “that we have to deal a lot with scarcity here. We are trying to feed 250 people a week entirely from donations. But the truth is that our bigger problem is often how to deal with abundance.” I pointed at the table where we had put donations that came in from a nearby Whole Foods: strawberries just about to rot, packages of guacamole, gallons of milk, cartons of organic yogurt, and dozens of loaves of bread.
Boycott and divestment aim to punish Israel. A more constructive strategy is needed.
This week, a former Google executive asked President Obama to raise his taxes so that more people will have the chance to succeed as he has. It was nice to hear the president defend the idea that individual wealth is built in part by collective investment--even if he didn't state it as forcefully as Elizabeth Warren, and even if he mostly avoided the word "taxes" itself.