In a society that has largely marginalized religion, especially from money discussions, we can now apply our own appreciation of margins as a way of restoring health and balance to these matters. Habitat for Humanity and the Heifer Project are both remarkable economic responses arising from religious traditions, and each came about in reacting to restore human dignity and comfort – in one case, it’s one house at a time, while in the other, it’s one domestic animal at a time. These, two, are inspiring models.
Which of these and other faith responses do you find most appealing? Which are the least appealing? Why?
What lessons can you carry over into your own life?
What other models can your own tradition contribute to this understanding?
Rediscovering the wisdom and daily discipline of our religious ancestors often brings us face-to-face with contemporary conflicts – and their resolution, as well.
Suggested further reading
In addition to the volumes already mentioned, let me suggest:
- Arthur I. Waskow’s Godwrestling (Schocken, 1978) arises from a radical Jewish community’s reading of Hebrew Bible texts, especially in regard to the ways we attempt to live out our deepest values.
- Richard J. Foster’s The Challenge of the Disciplined Life – originally published as Money, Sex & Power (1985) — picks up on the New Testament teachings with balance and detail.
- John A. Hostetler’s Amish Society (Johns Hopkins) has undergone numerous revisions in its updated editions and remains the central volume on their distinctive lifestyle. It can also be quite helpful in sweeping away many misconceptions.
- Marcia Adams’ Cooking From Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens (1988) includes some excellent brief descriptions of the faith and practice of Plain People as well as a celebration of seasonal changes through the year itself, touching on an awareness of feasting and fasting. And, of the many cookbooks in our household, it’s one of the most used.