Friday, August 29, 2008

Saving Money vs. Saving the World

While trying to clear out my blog reader I came across this great post on The Simple Dollar. I often ponder the best way to spend money. (In fact, I was just discussing this the other evening with some great friends.) Is it better to buy everything cheap and use the money saved for charitable giving or is it best to buy more expensive items that line up with your beliefs (i.e. organic, fair trade, local)? This is a great post to get you thinking.

Hint: frugality is all about what you value.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Returning to a favorite book: Crunchy Cons

Like many people my age, I have become incredibly disillusioned with both political parties. During the 2004 Presidential election, a close friend, who is a faithful Christian, opened my eyes to how tied evangelical Christians were to the Republican party even though the party largely stood for greed and all other manner of sins. As I explored the idea, I began to agree with his opinions, but it was easy to see that the Democratic party was not a good political partner for my life philosophies and faith either. Enter, Rod Dreher and his book Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots. The book first appeared on my radar screen via various blogs late in 2006 and I picked it up to read last Summer. I loved it instantly. I picked it up for a re-read a few weeks ago and love it even more.

Dreher, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, devout Catholic, local farming enthusiast, free market evangelist and homeschooling dad, lays out a philosophy of traditional conservative values that he largely attributes to Russell Kirk . The main premise of being a "Crunchy Conservative" is living for "Permanent Things" including family, good of the community and faith. Page after page, I wanted to shout, "Yes and Amen! This is the way life, community, country should be."

If you have ever pondered these issues, Crunchy Cons is worth a read. It will cause you to toss out all modern American definitions of liberal and conservative. While the book offers no answer on who to vote for this November, it does cause the willing reader to examine his or her allegiances, beliefs and daily practices. This work has taken its place among my favorite books because as Dreher quotes Victor Hugo, "There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come."