The Common Good

'Trust is the new Black': God at the Aspen Ideas Festival (Part I)

Against many odds, I was given the chance to spend six days at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer. While there I observed three basic orientations toward the country's current malaise: 1) Things are going very poorly in our country and much of the world, and it's worth doing something about, so let's figure out what we can do, 2) This is stimulating information I'm collecting but it's so complex that it's not possible to address issues with decisive action (i.e. "Tell me when the lifeboat is ready. I'll be listening to the string quartet on the Lido deck."), and 3) Our world is transformed by evolving movements that garner political will from experts, legislators, entrepreneurs, corporations, and regional cultures, so let's improve each of these and hope for the best. Though I sympathize mostly with #3 and #1 in that order, I found myself slipping into #2 ("relaxed Titanic") more often than I'd like to admit among the beautiful Aspen meadows.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Statistics (everyone's favorite way of documenting while showing off) were touted around every corner at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival in July: 60 percent of U.S. citizens receive more benefits from government than they contribute; over 46 percent of U.S. families pay no federal taxes. To the pollster's query, "Do you trust government to do the right thing most of the time?" the U.S. public is now at 17 percent. There are many more African-American men in college than in prison. For the first time in 150 years in America there is a growth in the number of farmers. And so on

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)