Economics

Ten Reasons Why This Election Should Be About Issues and Not Personalities

The presidential tickets in this election on both sides of the aisle have lots of "personality;" some of the candidates have even been referred to as "rock stars." John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis has said that "this election is not about issues, this election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates." That has been widely interpreted as a prediction that the election will be about personalities more than about issues. That would be a tragedy. [...]

The Great Emergence

Inga Locmele / Shutterstock

Inga Locmele / Shutterstock

Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer, an Anglican bishop known for his wit as well as his wisdom, famously observes from time to time that the only way to understand what is currently happening to us as 21st-century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every 500 years the church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale. And, he goes on to say, we are living in and through one of those 500-year sales.

While the bishop may be using a bit of humor to make a point, his is nonetheless a deadly serious and exquisitely accurate point. Any usable discussion of the Great Emergence and what is happening in Christianity today must commence with a discussion of history. Only history can expose the patterns and confluences of the past in such a way as to help us identify the patterns and flow of our own times and occupy them more faithfully.

The first pattern we must consider as relevant to the Great Emer­gence is Bishop Dyer’s rummage sale, which, as a pattern, is not only foundational to our understanding but also psychologically very reassuring for most of us. That is, as Bishop Dyer observes, about every 500 years the empowered structures of institutionalized Christianity, whatever they may be at that time, become an intolerable carapace, or hard shell, that must be shattered in order that renewal and new growth may occur. When that mighty upheaval happens, history shows us, there are always at least three consistent results or corollary events.

First, a new, more vital form of Christianity does indeed emerge. Second, the organized expression of Christianity that up until then had been the dominant one is reconstituted into a more pure and less ossified expression of its former self. As a result of this usually energetic but rarely benign process, the church actually ends up with two new creatures where once there had been only one. That is, in the course of birthing a brand-new expression of its faith and praxis, the church also gains a grand refurbishment of the older one.

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Sojourners Magazine August 2008
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The IMF Files: They Want to Believe

Andrew Berg, an International Monetary Fund African department policy adviser, is a nice man. I know this because he spent some time talking earnestly with me after an IMF press conference in which I'd asked a pretty confrontational question about Malawi, whose 2002 famine is often partly attributed to IMF (and World Bank) advice, and whose current bumper crops are attributed to ignoring it.

Berg looks a tiny bit like The X Files' Agent Skinner, but what this conversation [...]

Washing Down the Food Crisis with Corporate-Trade Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid ManIt's clear that one cause of the current food crisis is that poorer countries have been pressured into dismantling their food policies, leaving peasant farmers and eaters alike to bear all the risks of the extremely volatile world market. This has left corporations free to ship factory-farmed food to those countries, peasants free to migrate to urban slums, and corporately-dominated economic [...]

Back to Square One for Zimbabwe's Ubiquitous Billionaires

I was in Zimbabwe from June 21 to 28. I traveled by bus, and my experience is typical of what has become the norm for road travel between South Africa and Zimbabwe -- long queues and delays at the border posts and police-controlled roadblocks.

Almost all vehicles going to Zimbabwe are loaded to maximum capacity with goods from South Africa -- mostly basic foodstuff. With ever-rising inflation currently at 3 million percent, the Zimbabwean dollar cannot keep up, and the government [...]

Back to Square One for Zimbabwe's Ubiquitous Billionaires

I was in Zimbabwe from June 21 to 28. I traveled by bus, and my experience is typical of what has become the norm for road travel between South Africa and Zimbabwe -- long queues and delays at the border posts and police-controlled roadblocks.

Almost all vehicles going to Zimbabwe are loaded to maximum capacity with goods from South Africa -- mostly basic foodstuff. With ever-rising inflation currently at 3 million percent, the Zimbabwean dollar cannot keep up, and the government [...]

Back to Square One for Zimbabwe's Ubiquitous Billionaires

I was in Zimbabwe from June 21 to 28. I traveled by bus, and my experience is typical of what has become the norm for road travel between South Africa and Zimbabwe -- long queues and delays at the border posts and police-controlled roadblocks.

Almost all vehicles going to Zimbabwe are loaded to maximum capacity with goods from South Africa -- mostly basic foodstuff. With ever-rising inflation currently at 3 million percent, the Zimbabwean dollar cannot keep up, and the government [...]

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