Why can’t we honor our abundance?

/ 2 February 2005

I am tired of hearing about all of the ways in which we can't fund appropriate public services for vulnerable people in our country. I am tired of hearing how we can't deal with poor air and water quality (for the past two days the air quality in the Twin Cities has been so bad that our kids have not been allowed outside for recess). I'm beginning to feel like our public officials are simply a bunch of whiners!

This country is so rich in so many resources -- natural resources, human resources, creativity -- that we ought to be able to share our abundance, particularly with our own citizens. We should be able to find ways to share so that EVERYONE has access to affordable and good health care, clean air and water, good education, and so on. I simply don't believe we don't have the resources or the capacity. I think what we're lacking is the political will -- and the good will for each other! -- that somehow other countries can find.

Today I was reading about the far-reaching IT plan that Singapore has for its primary public schools. Yesterday I was reading that Canada -- with an extensive single payer health care system -- is the cheapest industrialized country in which to do business. We can't do better?

It seems to me that people are always much more generous when they feel their abundance, than when they fear scarcity. And our current public rhetoric is feeding the scarcity theme tremendously. Those of us who care about feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and those in prison (Matt. 25:34-46) need to remember the gifts that God has showered upon us. Matthew Gladue, of the Minneapolis Archdiocese office for social justice said as much the other day. Peter Rogness, the ELCA bishop of St. Paul also chimed in. I hope more people will come forward and write, speak out and sing!