Thursday, September 2, 2010

The War in Iraq and Economy at Home

September 2, 2010

I thought President Obama struck all the right notes in his address from the Oval Office on Tuesday, most especially in his oft repeated and heartfelt praise for those who have fought and those who have died in our wars. He backed it up with improved long term healthcare and a new GI bill. Good stuff. I do not understand to this day why we decided to invade Iraq and continue to hope that our intervention and all the lives that have been lost can yet be the seeds of something hopeful for the people of that region (explicitly including the Kurds in the North).

All of that said, I was also pleased to hear the reminder that we have a long way to go on the home front in a stagnant economy. I‘m among those who believe that rescuing the car companies and some banks (of which I did not approve) and providing stimulus money (of which I did approve) seem to have staved off the worst kind of recession. I see healthcare reform as a great victory even knowing that we have yet to see exactly how things will look in three or five years. The resistance to change was massive and predictable. But no one of good will and good sense can really suggest in good faith that some kind of change was not essential. In other words I’m not disheartened by how things are progressing and am among those who would give President Obama a high approval rating on everything except winning the PR battle.

As I think about what all this means for us and for our parish, I’m aware that we are facing significant capital needs in the not-too-distant-future. We are going to have to be very creative about how to move forward in meeting those needs in a climate that is not auspicious for a traditional capital campaign. Most of the pundits to who I listen are suggesting that ‘recovery’ in Atlanta will not be real and true until the commercial and residential real estate markets show signs of sustained positive movement. For many of us, ‘capital’ is in our homes and that is where we have been most visibly challenged. In one example of how this works, the wonderful ministry of Canterbury Court is facing no waiting list for admission for the first time in many years. This is less to do with the recent and beautiful expansion and more to do, I suspect, with the reality that most people need to sell their homes in order to move to Canterbury. In this climate, that movement is not happening. The ripple effect of the real estate market in our city will be a precondition for our being able to seek the kinds of resources we need in traditional ways. What will non-traditional and creative funding look like for us in the next five or ten or fifteen years? It will be exciting thinking through some answers.

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