Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Everything Solid Melts into Thin Air: Social Gospel and Financial Collapse

Article in The Christian Century by Gary Dorrien. I have already published this speech on this blog; however, this is a good time to report it and to note a link that might be helpful for some folks. "This article is excerpted from Dorrien's speech "Social Ethics for Social Justice: Renewing an Ecumenical Tradition," delivered to the National Council of Churches' general assembly in November."

From the speech: "Today we are witnessing a second historic wave of capitalist globalization. Karl Marx, foreseeing the first wave, famously predicted in The Communist Manifesto that "everything that is solid melts into air." Suddenly that has an existential ring. But Marx wasn't warning merely that the stock market might vaporize your pension, mortgage or job. His point cut deeper: global capitalism commodifies everything it touches, including labor and nature, putting everything up for sale.Nothing is exempt from the pressure of competition. Social contracts and places of rest have vanished under threats of obsolescence and ruin, while the global market exploits resources, displaces communities and sets off wealth explosions in wild cycles of boom and bust. Thomas Friedman, a celebrant of the second wave, calls it "turbo-capitalism." Economic globalization—the integration of national economies into the global economy through trade, direct foreign investment, short-term capital flows, and flows of labor and technology—has "flattened" the world, Friedman says. In a flat world you either compete successfully or get run over."

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In this my personal Christian blog, I hope to be discursive and now and then critical. What I write here is tentative and tensive. I post thoughts, feelings, and observations somewhat randomly and often in immediate response to current events and posts on other blogs.

"Serendipitous Creativity" from Gordon Kaufman

"I suggested that what we today should regard as God is the ongoing creativity in the universe - the bringing (or coming) into being of what is genuinely new, something transformative; …

"In some respects and some degrees this creativity is apparently happening continuously, in and through the processes or activities or events around us and within us(…) is a profound mystery to us humans(…) But on the whole, as we look back on the long and often painful developments that slowly brought human life and our complex human worlds into being, we cannot but regard this creativity as serendipitous …

"I want to stress that this serendipitous creativity - God! - to which we should be responsive is not the private possession of any of the many particular religious faiths or systems …

"This profound mystery of creativity is manifest in and through the overall human bio-historical evolution and development everywhere on the planet; and it continues to show itself throughout the entire human project, no matter what may be the particular religious and or cultural beliefs."

Gordon Kaufman, Mennonite Life, December 2005 vol. 60 no. 4

Melville is a rational man who

"Melville is a rational man who wants God to exist. He wants Him to exist for the same reasons we all do: to be our rescuer and appreciator, to act as a confidant in our moments of crisis and to give us reassurance that, over the horizon of our deaths, we will survive." (John Updike)

And that is a problem for me.

Fragmented Notions

Fragmented Notions
Copyright © 2007 Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University

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