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May 04, 2012

Comments

Steven

Mike- At our church staff meetings we have been reading "The Wisdom of Stability" it is a great book, and we all have been eating it up. You should look it up....if you haven't already

Mike King

Yep, Jonathan is a friend and has written a good book. Sheldrake's book Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory and Identity is another good book. Hamma's Landscapes of the Spiritual too.

Hope you are well.

Peace,

Mike

Mike Clawson

Good advice. But unfortunately a luxury many people literally can't afford. Generally only people with money or job security get to live where they please. Everyone else has to go where they can find work.

Mike King

Hey Mike, I don't agree. The poor have next to no choices about moving. It is actually those who have bought in to the consumeristic agenda of being upwardly mobile that have become unrooted.

Jon Wasson

Long term change requires long term presence?

Mike King

Well said wise Jon...

Mike Clawson

That has not been my experience with the poor. Many that I know are constantly shifting around, moving from one job to the next (and one location to the next) as they can find them.

Mike King

I'm not necessarily advocating for a person to stay in the same job but to stay in the same place, community, etc. The fragmentation of our families and the lack of commitment to stay in a particular community, and faith community has resulted in a diminished spiritual formation and obstacles in the development of our human identity (requiring stable relationships).

Mike Clawson

Also, I wasn't only talking about the poor. Most of the middle class these days are at the mercy of their employers, and when their job moves, or they lose their job and the only other one in their field is in some other town, they are often left with very little choice in the matter. I have seen this happen to numerous families. They would love to STAY, but how do you do that when there are no jobs?

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes what we frame as spiritual failings are in fact conditioned by deeper structural/economic realities.

Mike King

Unless we begin to have an imagination to begin thinking about these issues without "economics" being the primary consideration we will continue to be victims of consumerism run amuk.

I am trying to say that there is a different kind of conversation we should have about these issues based on God's economy.

I have to run now (literally) so I won't be able to keep the responses going.

Thanks for your thoughts Mike, you make some good points.

Peace,

Mike

Mike Clawson

I completely agree that stability and rootedness is something our culture desperately needs. I'm just saying that many people aren't really given the option. If we frame the solution solely in terms of individual choices we not only overly privilege a late-capitalist post-Enlightenment conception of human autonomy, we ignore the fact that we are all deeply embedded in socio-economic realities that condition which options are even open for us to choose from. So yes, part of the solution is for those who have the luxury to choose where to live to stop making those decisions based on consumer desires and career ambitions. But a longer lasting solution is to work for a restructuring of our economic system such that staying in one place becomes a real option for most people once again. It has to be a both/and. If you just focus on changing individuals, but don't change the system, people will just be uprooted all over again the next time there's another Great Recession. Living in God's economy also includes changing the regular economy too - otherwise you don't even have the freedom to make choices based on non-economic factors.

Mike King

Mike, I think we probably agree on more than we disagree. Although I'm not framing the solution in "individual choices" but in the context of staying connected to a particular community in a particular place for a lifetime. The thing I'm pushing against is a "late-capitalist, post-Enlightenment conception of human autonomy". There was a time before where almost everyone stayed where they were from. And to this we should return.

Brian

Stability: one of the three vows of the Bendictines, and a key to strong Christian community.

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