The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.
In my last blog I stated that balance is a welcome state of being for humanity and very important for all facets of our lives. Because I am finding that certain elements in this country are ginning up much hostility toward capitalism, in this blog I would like to reflect on how we balance faith with commerce.
Once upon a time in order for a new community to be established in the North American territories it needed a church and a pastor. Faith was central to existence because life presented a multitude of hardships (One could argue that we still have many hardships, but that is a topic for a future Shrew blog). Many of these communities still exist today with a First Parish Church in its midst. Of course today most of these communities also have several other churches along with perhaps a Temple and even a Mosque. Faith in God or a Higher Power can be a grounding influence for many people, and I believe that religious practice in communities is a key ingredient for goodwill among humanity. The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.
So which came first, faith practice or commerce? I think this question is comparable to the chicken and egg hypothesis. We know that Britain colonized America in 1607 at which point the North American resources became valuable to many markets (Again, exploitation of these resources is another great topic for a future Shrew blog). In the very early days the settlers bartered their goods and services, no money was needed to support their basic lifestyles. Indentured slaves and negro slaves were in full use by 1640 thanks in part to the Dutch who brought the first negro slaves…Britain benefited the most from this practice because new markets for cotton and tobacco amoung other things were expanding at great rates and new immigrants to America were smart enough to know that this work on southern plantations was less than desirable. Moving ahead 50 years, the first paper money wasn’t issued until February 3, 1690 to pay for military action during the King Philip’s War (military personnel required payment to make their fight worthwhile). By 1776 the British pushed American “free spirits” to their limit. Because religious freedom was central to the impending free nation, British rule equated to Anglican hierarchical practices. I find it interesting that it took 170 years for these European free spirited transplants to break away from Imperial bonds, but honestly that is what tyrannical control can do to people…dependence on the “Mother Land” is like clinging to your mother’s warm bosom. It took tremendous personally inspired faith to fight for independence.
And so, the land of opportunity was born…Each man and woman sovereign to him/herself with inalienable rights and property protections. Property of course also includes your business and ability to make money which involves a tremendous amount of creativity. God created the Universe and we, as part of this creation, are inspired to also create .
I believe the best economies are local. They reflect the community of people united with threads of purpose. And many times they use the bounty of resources located in their region. These communities educate their young, learn from their past, celebrate their better days, reflect on their challenges, honor Mother Nature and love life through a respectful relationship with their Creator. A nation that respects a community’s innovation to thrive will reap the rewards.
Which came first, faith practice or commerce? One definitely defines the other and in my dictionary faith defines commerce…Just look on the back of our currency! In God We Trust 🙂