​Core Circle - WSL - Economy

Opening Reading:

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear; though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!  Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

- Robert Frost 

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The word economy comes from ancient Greek. The first part, Eco, comes from the Greek Oikos, and it refers to the support of a household and specifically to the total systems that would support and sustain an extended family. In those days, every family had some close tie to the land, which everyone understood was the primary source of food and wealth. But Oikos was about the totality of how the people were supported and sustained…, by the land, by each other, and by the gods.

The second part of economy comes from the Greek Nomos, which refers to the act, the law, or the affecting principle behind something. We see this in words like Astronomy (the laws that govern stars and their behavior), Autonomy (the laws that govern individuals and their behavior), and so on. So eco-nomy is about the laws or principles that govern our systems of support, and for our purposes, this applies to everything. Not just our financial and material support, but our relational, emotional, and spiritual support.

In this sense, everything has some economy to it, because everything comes with a trade-off. E.B. White once wrote, "I wake each morning torn between two impulses: the impulse to savor the world, and the impulse to save it.  It makes it hard to plan the day."

Consider this definition of economy: the correct and effective use of available resources. Which leads us pretty much to the heart of the issue. In every moment, Life provides us with exactly two limited quantities to spend: our Time, and our Energy. These will eventually be spent no matter what we do, and we can’t do everything. Every decision, every investment of time or energy has costs, benefits, consequences, and a certain risk. And it is in this sense that economy becomes a spiritual question for every human being, and for every community. 

Focus Questions:

1. What commands and receives your best time, your best energy?

2. What are you spending and being spent for?

3. What are your hopes, goals, and purposes in life? And what will/do you exchange for them?

4. List (at least) five authentic sources of self-worth. 

Likes and Wishes

Closing Words:

So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute.
Love the Lord, love the world, work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace the flag.
Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all that you cannot understand.
Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Expect the end of the world.
Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable.
Be joyful, even though you have considered all the facts.
Go with your love to the fields. Lie easy in the shade. Rest you head in her lap.
As soon as the generals and politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it.
Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go.
Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.

- Wendell Berry

About the Author

Glenn grew up in the church and has been a member for over 20 years. You can find Glenn enjoying the nature trails around the Denver area. For any questions or information, you can email Glenn at admin@fusden.org.