The main barrier standing between ourselves and a local-food culture is not price, but attitude. The most difficult requirements are patience and a pinch of restraint — virtues that are hardly the property of the wealthy. These virtues seem to find precious little shelter, in fact, in any modern quarter of this nation founded by Puritans. Furthermore, we apply them selectively: browbeating our teenagers with the message that they should wait for sex, for example. Only if they wait to experience intercourse under the ideal circumstances (the story goes), will they know its true value. “Blah blah blah,” hears the teenager: words issuing from a mouth that can’t even wait for the right time to eat tomatoes, but instead consumes tasteless ones all winter to satisfy a craving for everything now. We’re raising our children on the definition of promiscuity if we feed them a casual, indiscriminate mingling of foods from every season plucked from the supermarket, ignoring how our sustenance is cheapened by wholesale desires.”
– Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (Barbara Kingsolver)
When I first read that nigh upon a year ago, it struck a nerve. Obviously the author is skeptical about the concept of Biblical abstinence, yet applies it wholeheartedly to the idea of food. I got to thinking. The entire idea permeates our culture. We wonder why so many of our youth live lives of mediocrity, or fall away into “lusts of the world” as soon as they are old enough to get out from underneath their parents’ thumb. Kingsolver sums it up well: “We’re raising our children on the definition of promiscuity.” It’s everywhere. I don’t care if you want to look at the lack of sexual restraint, our convenience food diets, or most blatantly in the news these days: our economy – it’s everywhere. And we do apply it selectively. The question is: should we? Can our economy survive it? Can our souls?
Some Christians, on the Left and on the Right, would tell us that economic matters are of paramount concern right now. They would assert that we’ve no time for the “luxury” of “culture war” discussions about “abstinence” or divorce or “gender roles” or other such matters. Instead, they tell us, we should concentrate on tax cuts or economic stimulus projects or Wall Street bailouts or home ownership.
They’re wrong not only because the family is, ultimately, more important than the marketplace, but also because the two are interconnected. They’re wrong also because, as Marxists and hyper-capitalists both correctly grasp (though wrongly apply), man as an economic being cannot be abstracted from other aspects of life.
A time of economic crisis is, therefore, a time for the Church to reconsider—and re-imagine—her priorities. The first step is to recognize that one of the roots of the family crisis all around us—in the pews we sit in or preach to every week—is the wallet in our own back pocket.
– Love, Sex & Mammon: Hard Times, Hard Truths, and the Economics of the Christian Family (Touchstone Magazine)
I know of pastors who ardently preach on tithing (which I believe to be a Biblical principle) and on giving to the church, but who otherwise never touch on the idea of money. I know of pastors who hardly touch the subject at all for fear of sounding like they “just preach about money”. But come on, people. It is central to our issue! How we spend our money shows where our priorities lie. When it comes down to it, it’s the old adage: actions speak louder than words. We cannot continue to live as if our morals and our money are not interconnected!
Our culture is living the life of Esau right now. We’re selling our inheritance, the future of our culture, for the sake of a bowl of stew. We want the houses we couldn’t afford in the first place, we want the shiny cars so that others will think well of us, we want the manicured lawns that show our affluence – and we don’t care that there won’t be anything left for the next generation.
I’ve found myself almost wishing that the dollar would bottom out and our economy would have to change. Then I catch myself and guiltily point out that there must be something wrong with me for wanting that to happen. But then tonight I read this:
Do I want Obama to fail? Aren’t I, as a Christian, required to pray for our president? I do pray for him. But I don’t pray for his success, where his success means implementing policies which harm the country’s security, kill babies, increase poverty, and decrease freedom. The Alinskyite game playing is pathetic, trying to divide us with “have you beat your wife lately?” questions designed to “catch” conservatives in being “disloyal” to the President. Are you now, or have you ever been, a fan of Rush Limbaugh? Grow up! I’m not hoping for economic failure. I’m experiencing economic failure, and I’m hoping to return to economic success.
Think of it as praying the alcoholic in your family will hit rock bottom sooner, rather than later. It’s time to stop enabling the entitlement mentality. It’s time to let go of our co-dependency and desire to be liked. It’s time for an intervention.
– Going John Galt (Pursuing Holiness)
Let’s hit rock bottom.