So, to wrap up this way-too-long-for-Web-attention-spans essay, here is the good news in our very real and sobering predicament: Easy is not going to be easy any longer. Our culture's addiction to ease is unsustainable. A core Christian conviction—one that informed much of the best of Western civilization—is that the good life is not easy. It requires discipline. It invites us into pain. It makes of us ascetics—not people who shun all earthly joys, but people who choose to limit our appetite for ease so that we might actually know true joy.
Yesterday I started reading Deep Economy, by Bill McKibben. This too is helping to shape my thoughts. I don't believe that this economic crisis is new. It's just a new reality for some of us. It's been a reality for many in our country and throughout our world for a long time. Now that it's filtering up to the middle and upper class, though, it's considered a crisis. We've all heard the stat that half the world's population (over 2 billion people) live on less than $2/day. That is a crisis. The staggering infant mortality rate in my city is a crisis. The fact that in 2007, the poverty rate in this country was lower than it was in 1959, is a crisis. The list could go on and on.
Now that the crisis is affecting much more of our population, I believe that we will be forced to make changes that will not only make our lives better in the long run, but will also help to make the lives of others better.
This gives me hope!