In our corner of the economy, excellent pastors got fired and many took wage and benefit cuts. In some cases, the congregations didn’t realize that their decrease in membership was a national trend that had a lot to do with shifting demographics.
Jonathan Chait is exactly right about the unspoken conservative position on health-care reform:
Opponents of the law have endlessly invoked “socialism.” Nothing in the Affordable Care Act or any part of President Obama’s challenges the basic dynamics of market capitalism. All sides accept that some of us should continue to enjoy vastly greater comforts and pleasures than others. If you don’t work as hard as Mitt Romney has, or were born less smart, or to worse parents, or enjoyed worse schools, or invested your skills in an industry that collapsed, or suffered any other misfortune, then you will be punished for this. Your television may be low-definition, or you might not be able to heat or cool your home as comfortably as you would like; you may clothe your children in discarded garments from the Salvation Army.
“For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” When Paul appeals to the self-emptying nature of Christ as one of the central Christian impulses for generosity, he is ringing a familiar chord. Generosity for the Corinthians is grounded in self-emptying in much the same way that joy and worship are grounded in self-emptying for the Philippians.
Sunday night we heard there might be storms heading our way, so we decided to stay in South Dakota for an extra night and head out Monday morning instead. This was a decision that I regretted then on Sunday evening when it started hailing and everyone in the hotel was instructed to gather in the foyer.
My mother read to us a lot when we were little. Most of us were girls. And she liked classic stuff, so I grew up with a strong working knowledge of Little House and Little Women. (I don't think we ever read Little Men, but let's be honest, who did? Also: It's still about Jo!)
But the house favorite was definitely Anne of Green Gables.
Of the many lousy things the City of Chicago has done in the years I've lived here, perhaps none has left a moral stain quite like that of the "reform" of public housing. The housing authority, once known widely for its high-rise housing projects, systematically tore them down and sold the property to developers.