The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

The river shapes the land

Reclaiming the Mission suggested that capitalism forms us spiritually. I think this makes sense. Our environment shapes us. (You know that old nature/nurture debate.) An environment's character lends itself to certain best practices for living and thriving, so we choose certain patterns with the least (or lesser) resistance in that environment.* Those patterns become habits and those habits shape us.

Spiritually, maybe each person is a bit like a tract of land, maybe the Lousiana Purchase. Among other environmental factors, capitalism is one of the rivers that's cutting its way through our valleys (or maybe it's a glacier, anachronistically speaking). Even still, like any tract, capitalism rushes up against our banks and change them a bit. But it's a two-way shaping. Some of the shaping is incidental; it just happens. Other shaping is more intentional, but it varies depending on how much we work to keep the river in its place. The Mississippi didn't always follow its current banks. The Army Corps of Engineers set out to keep it in place. That's how much work it takes, and even then the levees break sometimes. So maybe we really hem the river here, but we find it pushing against another spot unexpectedly and reshaping us there.

Nonetheless we Lousiana Purchases are impacted by the size of the river, the way capitalism winds or shoots straight when we look at ourselves on a map. It cuts its way through and shapes our habits, where we go and what we choose or don't choose. I'm not saying we can't be good Christians or faithful with Capitalism River running across our land, but we must see where it is making us less like the creation God made and called good.


* Even words like "best practices," "thriving," and "least resistance" have underlying values, ideals shaped by our environment. Are those values good and right?