Why are we so much wealthier now than at any other point in human history?

Why are we so much wealthier now than at any other point in human history? Deirdre N. McCloskey explains this in her Bourgeois Era book series, which she summarizes in this interview. It is worth the listen. In 1800 the average income per day was $3 and today in the US is $130. How to explain this? (And yes, the $3 is income in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation). Her explanation? Ideas! Not labor or capital but the free exchange of ideas.

Garrison Keillor Ruminates About Today’s Evangelicals

The evangelicals who brought me up avoided politics, believing that the Second Coming was imminent, perhaps only hours away, which would usher them into God’s Presence and the unfathomable rapture of celestial splendor, so why waste time trying to pass a bond issue for curbs and gutters? And they certainly avoided money-grubbing. They were above that. So unbecoming for a Christian, as Jesus descends through the clouds on shafts of heavenly light, accompanied by cherubim and seraphim, to be caught wheedling and conniving and flattering in order to scrounge up watches and free trips and weekends at deluxe hotels and all the loose cash around. Like the poor wretch in “The Pilgrim’s Progress” who grubs in the garbage with a rake and does not notice the angel holding a gold crown over his head.

Those evangelicals are still around, studying the Word, doing good and living modestly, and they are writhing in discomfort at the carryings-on of the Rolex Christians and their gospel of prosperity. And their shamelessness….

But that was then and this is now. Now you use your faith to build your brand and eventually you monetize it. I say: whatever lights your candle. For me, what works is high Anglican, a modest rector, not overly jovial like a game show host, an organist who knows his place, and liturgy with some long silences in it. “Be still, and know that I am God,” He says. So let’s. God speaks in the stillness. For that reason, friends of mine prefer a walk in the woods to a place in the pews. Good for them. Enter into the woods with thanksgiving and into the pasture with praise. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations. And wherever two Corinthians are gathered together, there He is in the midst of them.

My New, Funny Old Mother 

My New, Funny Old Mother by Freya Manfred 

Will I ever be as funny as my mother at ninety?
I hope so, for everyone’s sake, especially mine.

This woman, who swims, learns Spanish, cooks for herself,

and works Thursdays at the library – this very Mother –

burps after every bite, wets her pants, washes them,

sports a hearing aid that screeches carols,

and says, “Whatever!” to whatever happens,

when in the past she didn’t trust much good

would come of anything, or anyone,

and often pointed to what wasn’t working

to preserve her worried soul from what could soon go wrong.

When we said, “See you in the morning, Mom!”

she said, “We’ll see about that!”

But now she says, “That would be nice.”

Relieved of my dreams of perfection, I can’t stop laughing,

gently, softly, when her hearing aid syncopates her burps,

and she asks, “What? What’s so funny?” – giggling –

because she knows I love her as she is.

No changes needed. Nothing to fix.

“See,” she says, “I told you. Everything’s fine.”
“My New, Funny Old Mother” by Freya Manfred from Speak, Mother. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2015

Little Bonhoeffers

I refuse to tell people who a Christian, because he or she is a Christian, has to vote for or against in order to be a good or even a real Christian.

I think in the current situation many see themselves as little Bonhoeffers who must rid the land of Hitler before he comes to power. This tells me more about their vaunted view of themselves as authors of their own version of the Barmen Declaration.

Our Borders, Our Selves-A Talk I Recommend

I listened to this talk by Frances Stonor Saunders on the Open Source podcast featuring Chris Lydon. It is a piece of first rate communication with sophisticated insight, absent cliches. I disagree with the author’s pro-illegal immigration position, but her reflection on borders in intriguing.

One thing I did not know was that before the 1900s there virtually no border control anywhere. People essentially migrated to where they wanted to live. She explains how border control came to be and what it means about the kind of world we now live in.

I commend the talk to you.