The Common Good

Milk, Honey, and Miter Saws

In this month's issue of Sojourners magazine, Walter Brueggemann writes about how God calls us "from autonomy to covenantal existence, from anxiety to divine abundance, and from acquisitive greed to neighborly generosity." (And he's not writing from the ivory tower -- click here to listen to Brueggemann describe how the tough economic times have impacted his own family and pension). Chuck Collins writes about how some churches are putting the move from anxiety to abundance into practice by starting common security clubs.

Already checked out our how-to tips on starting a common security club, and want still more practical tips on how your faith community can respond to the recession? Surf on over to Mustard Seed Associates and check out Rick Reynold's How to Help the Most Vulnerable for five concrete ideas, from square-foot gardening to childcare cooperatives. Here's a sample:

Tools and Skills Bank: Churches went crazy making tool and resource lists in 1977, all done with pen and paper. These lists help church and community folk know who owns a miter saw to loan out, or who has the "gift" of plumbing knowledge. Now computers speed data collection and minimize the labor of keeping such lists up to date. Even better, churches can host basic skills training to help folks do those tasks that, in better times, they might have paid someone else to do: basic plumbing and home repairs, car maintenance, even money management.

As Brueggemann says,

Biblical faith requires that we look our greedy system of economics in the face, and that we linger before God's offer of "a more excellent way." And comes then the risk and the deep reliance upon manna given in the wilderness, en route to a better land, a good city, milk and honey (Hebrews 11:16).

Milk, honey, and miter saws (or, better yet, tax help). What could be better?

Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor of Sojourners.

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