Kevin Lum

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David Brooks, Producing People, and Saving the World

by Kevin Lum 06-07-2013
Wall Street sign outside New York Stock Exchange, Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com

Wall Street sign outside New York Stock Exchange, Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com

New York Times op-ed columnist, David Brooks, responded, this week, to an intriguing article in the Washington Post about Jason Trigg, a recent MIT graduate, who chose a career on Wall Street as a way to redistribute wealth. 

Trigg’s plan is simple. Make lots of money. Live simply. Give lots of money. It’s not far from John Wesley’s advice of, “Earn all you can. Give all you can. Save all you can.”  Actually, it’s almost identical.

Brooks perceptively sees the dangers and pitfalls in the road ahead. Most specifically, wealth and the surrounding environment can have a corrosive effect, no matter good our intentions. Brooks writes:

…the brain is a malleable organ. Every time you do an activity, or have a thought, you are changing a piece of yourself into something slightly different than it was before. Every hour you spend with others, you become more like the people around you.

Gradually, you become a different person. If there is a large gap between your daily conduct and your core commitment, you will become more like your daily activities and less attached to your original commitment.

But, while I echo Brooks concern, I disagree with his ultimate conclusion. He goes on to argue that we should pursue careers that elicit passion (seeming to indicate that hedge funds couldn’t be a passion for some people) and that if we truly care about children in Africa, it’s best to go there – not Wall Street.

Becoming David

by Kevin Lum 12-01-2009
Why David Sometimes Wins, by Marshall Ganz. Oxford University Press.

President Obama to Participate in Nationwide Call-in on Health Care

by Kevin Lum 08-11-2009
Jim Wallis and other faith leaders from across America kicked off "40 Days for Health Reform"

The New 'Nones' Aren't Atheist--Just Unaffiliated

by Kevin Lum 05-08-2009
Historically, the number of individuals who say they have no religious affiliation in America ranges between 5-10%, but a new poll conducted by Robert Putnam (of http://www.amazon.com/gp/p

Seven Against the World

by Kevin Lum 06-06-2008

Sometimes I think I have become immune to Washington, D.C., feeling as though nothing can shock or surprise me, and then I hear a story that brings my expectations to an all-time low. Seven senators -- known as the "Coburn Seven" -- are playing politics with the lives of millions of people affected by deadly diseases by blocking the reauthorization of the Global AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis bill.

AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis cause more than 90 percent of all deaths from [...]

Karl Barth Is Going Back to Prison!

by Kevin Lum 09-27-2007

To everyone who took action and emailed the Bureau of Prisons, thank you! On Sept. 14, Sojourners helped break the story that the federal government had created a list of acceptable religious books and purged all other books from the religious libraries. Often these stories fade away and are quickly [...]

Karl Barth Still Belongs in Prison

by Kevin Lum 09-24-2007

I recently posted about the purging of religious books from prison libraries across the country. Since that post and a follow-up action alert, there has been a groundswell of outrage from across the religious and political spectrum against the government's attempt to purge religious libraries. Thank you to everyone who took action. The response has been so overwhelming that

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