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Aug 10, 2009

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JMorrow

Michael,

Thanks for the honesty and guts with which you are tackling this issue. Having kept up with your blog for awhile, I think you sometimes come down too hard on those who have a different take on the implications of the market. However, I respect and often share in your realist perspective on Christian involvement in social and political affairs. My training in diplomacy and econ has made me ever aware of the inherent complexities and paradoxes of engaging social issues as a person of faith.

Yet I continue to be a Christian earnestly trying to seek the counsel of God in regards to professional, social and political activity. One of my chief concerns being to avoid having Jesus simply validate my preexisting worldview, even if that's built on first rate economic, political or social theory. So with that in mind, I want to know what critique do you think theologians can legitimately give economist? To expand on Tertuillian, 'What does Jerusalem have to do with Wall Street?'

I hope this is a question your series will address. I think, for example, of the importance of such questions in local community development. This is an area where to my mind economists need to be in conversation with the people affected by their policy preferences. After all, as you pointed out in this post, economists make assumptions that don't always bare fruit in the history, culture and psychology of those they serve. But that conversation can only take place when "the people" are not only equipped with the basic teachings of market economics, but also with the vocabulary necessary to question and critique, rather than swallow whole, the proposals for development that are presented to them (Hence avoiding the trap of good intentions). Is there anything that can theologically provide that vocabulary?

Again, thanks for your continued work on this subject, I hope these questions provoke rather than shut down more dialogue.

Michael W. Kruse

You are tracking with my intentions. My earnest desire is to generate more fruitful reflection on the relationship between the two topics. As we you will see in next posts it is a conviction of mine that theologians, especially in the Mainline tradition, have grossly misunderstood what the core questions are the economics addresses ... and as I said in this post I'm unwilling to put that squarely on the back of theologians.

Economics is not so much a set of answers as it is an important lens through which to process questions. "What has Jerusalem to do with Wall Street?" Bingo! That is my question too.

phil_style

here's another economics related video you might like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9UIflxxWBg

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Phil. Loved it. Although I couldn't figure our the humor behind 5 x 14 = 25. :-)

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