The power of blogosphere has once again become evident. I came across this list from Josh, who found it via Steve, who posted it from Will, who received the thoughts from Chris. I found these suggestions for suburbanites to be interesting, thoughtful and provocative. If you live in a suburb and struggle with feeling apart of a community (particularly difficult if you don't have children in the local schools system) you may want to consider some or all of these suggestions. If you are interested in living out your faith in the suburbs you might want to check out Will's book, Justice in the Burbs. I haven't finished it yet, but it is worth contemplation.
On another note, my new friend Steve Craven, after a discussion of tax policy one night at the poker table, reminded me of one of the macroeconomic principles that served as a foundation of Reagan's "supply-side" economics, call the Laffer Curve, or you might want to call it the Laugher Curve.
Reagan bought into the curve citing his own personal experience. Saying that if he has the choice between making one movie or a second movie and being taxes at a higher rate, he would only make one movie (thus, in his mind, progressive taxes hurt productivity, since he, himself was less productive if it meant paying more tax). So much for making art for art's sake. The reality of Reagan's own example is that it underscored his own greed and economic self-interest. Some people do things for something more than mere economic purposes.
Which brings me to the fascinating insight of Susan Pace Hamill. She had a "conversion experience" while studying theology on sabbatical from her taxation professorship at the University of Alabama. She began to truly explore and develop theology of taxation if you will. You can read her ideas here.
I have heard Professor Hamill speak on a number of occasions, most recently at the screening of Golden Rule Politics. I have fallen in love with her distinction of "High sacrifice" theology vs. the prevalent "low sacrifice" theology. This not only applies to how we should think about taxation inequities, but a host of other issues as well. For example, citing common "pro-life" stances by the religious right, she points out that they usually only focus on abortion, which is a low sacrifice issue, but focusing on infant mortality, pre-natal care for the poor, providing contraceptives that would actually lower the need for abortions, etc, is a high sacrifice stance.
The same would hold true with regard to environmental issues. Too many want to deny the affects of climate change and question the science because that is low sacrifice, but actually having to look beyond one's own economic self-interest for benefit of the environment is a high sacrifice issue. Ultimately, she rightly asserts that the gospel of Christ is a high sacrifice position and woe to those who want the benefits of an eternal heaven without wanting to pay the sacrifice. As she would say, those of us who have the most have to sacrifice the most to help those with the least. Perhaps, as Reagan, Christians are motivated by their own economics rather than a firm commitment to the gospel as lived and preached by Christ.
Equally compelling was Dr. Jim Evan's analysis of the Republican triumph over the South in the last thirty years, but I don't have time to address that, perhaps in a future entry. Lot's of links in this blog, but worth the exploration if you have time.