9.29.2007

Full Participation

"As a Christian and an economist, I believe in the importance of
unfettered participation by all; anything else is less than the best
for all."

It was a throwaway line in one of my posts this week, but a concept I
want to elaborate on today. A well-known Biblical analogy for the
church is that we are a body, and not just any body, but Christ's
body. So it is that just as a body is made of many parts, which are
different but which must function together in order to function (and
which much function in order for the body to function), that's how it
is with the church. And not just functioning together for
functioning's sake, but for the sake of representing in physical form
the presence of Christ wherever we are. Talk about a high calling!

Thus, it matters that each individual understands what he or she has
been gifted with, in terms of talents and opportunities and passions.
Because to the extent that we each know, and act by God's grace on
that knowledge, we'll be a more functioning body, a better
manifestation of Christness in the world today.

And these principles hold true for a functioning market economy, as
well. When groups are excluded, either by law or by practice, from
fully contributing, the market as a whole suffers. In contrast, each
new contribution has a positive ripple effect on everyone and
everything else.

So it matters that we invest in education, so that our knowledge
economy can benefit from new ideas and new brainpower. It matters
that we not discriminate against women and minorities, in terms of
overt or covert forms of excluding them from mainstream opportunities.
And it matters that we encourage and not discourage immigrants who
are willing to step outside of their home language and culture to make
a decent living and offer a positive contribution to our nation.

And so it is as a Christian and an economist - and as a Christian
economist - that I again lobby for full participation. Our economy,
our church, and the soul of this generation, needs everyone all in.

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