Daily Reading for September 22
Let me define what I mean by famine. Famine is the reigning myth. It is king and queen, emperor and president. As the kids would say, “It rules.” Myth one is that there is not enough. You will barely get through an hour anywhere in the first-world without the subtext of “there is not enough” coming up. “I would love to come but I am so busy.”
Myth two is that more is better. “When I get the promotion or the gig or the partner, then I will have the more I need to be better.”
Myth three is that there is nothing you can do about it. “I won’t get the promotion or the gig or the partner, and if I do it won’t work out, so there is really nothing to do but stay here and whine about it along with the rest of the culture.”
Myth four—and this is really a new one, straight from the Republicans—is that you are personally responsible. No pension? You must have invested your 401K wrong. No health insurance? You probably didn’t take good care of your health. No freedom from work? You probably went to the wrong graduate school.
These four myths are relatives. They all belong to the same family. They dine very well together every night. There is not enough. More is better. There is nothing you can do about it. You are personally responsible.
The story of the wedding at Cana is a striking alternative to the king, queen, prince, and princess myths. It says just the opposite: there is plenty, we have enough, there are lots of things you can do to change things, and we are positively personally responsible. There is not blame here—as in who ordered the wrong amount of wine—but there is hope. As they will say at the World Social Forum, over and over again, another world is possible.
I am a recovering famine freak. I am training myself to be a feast freak. I choose small strategic gifts. I choose a feast mentality (even though there are plenty of days of desperation and despair still left). I also choose a steady principled pace that has plenty of time for setbacks—as well as plenty of time built into it for my money to create lasting change. The better wine is coming. That is the first and central point of view I have on money. From there the rest is simpler.
From Living Well While Doing Good by Donna Schaper. A Seabury Book, an imprint of Church Publishing. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY. www.churchpublishing.org