Posts tagged with: mining

Due to a rapidly changing economy and a range of excessive regulations from the federal government, the American coal mining industry is facing serious challenges. For states like West Virginia, the effects are particularly painful, as mining towns and communities struggle under a projected 23% decline in related jobs in recent years, leading vast numbers of residents to leave the state altogether.

Yet for Travis Lowe, pastor of Crossroads Church in Bluefield, West Virginia, the severe economic losses and doom-and-gloom forecasts didn’t spell the end of the story. In some powerful reflections, Lowe draws heavily on Jeremiah 29:7, explaining how God showed him what it meant to be “sent” to his local economic community.

“I realized that I had not been called to just pastor, but I had been called to a place: Bluefield,” he writes. “…We thought through what it meant to be ‘sent’ to our town and how we could seek its welfare. Through this cry, we began to minister in ways we had never imagined.”

After meeting with a range of business owners in the church and local community, Lowe realized that the pain and frustration demanded a response. “I sensed a deep-seeded desperation and a fear,” he says. “The economy in our mining town has been in a thirty year decline. They were scared that their life work was crumbling in front of them. I decided to try to help.”

Although many churches would respond by simply coming alongside their congregants and community in prayer and solidarity, Lowe saw a much bigger role and responsibility. Yes, they were called to mourn alongside those who mourn and point the way to hope, but they were also called to move forward toward in tangible ways toward actual economic transformation. (more…)

The Hunger Games TrilogyIn today’s Acton Commentary, “Secular Scapegoats and ‘The Hunger Games,'” I examine the themes of faith and freedom expressed in Suzanne Collins’ enormously popular trilogy. The film version of the first book hit the theaters this past weekend, and along with the release has come a spate of commentary critical of various aspects of Collins’ work.

As for faith and freedom, it turns out there’s precious little of either in Panem. But that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, as I argue in today’s piece: “If Panem is what a world without faith and freedom looks like, then Collins’ books are a cautionary tale about the spiritual, moral, and political dangers of materialism, hedonism, and oppression.”

Last week I was also privileged to participate in a collection of pieces at the Values & Capitalism website related to “The Hunger Games.” I provide an alternate ending (along with some explanation here) at the V&C site, where you can also check out the numerous other worthy reflections on Collins’ work.

Blog author: kschmiesing
Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sophisticated followers of politics such as the readers of PowerBlog will not be surprised by this story, but I’ll bring it to your attention anyway. The US House recently passed a bill that includes a dramatic tax increase on mining businesses. Supporters argue that the tax helps reign in the environmentally abusive mining industry. Higher taxes. Environmental concern. Senate Democrats would be scrambling to get on that bus, right? One problem: Majority Leader Harry Reid is from Nevada, whose economy depends heavily on the extraction of minerals and metals.

It reminds me of one of Hillary Clinton’s recent controversies, the ethanol flip-flop. Her spokesman explained: “She has always been a supporter of ethanol except for a time when there was evidence that New York would be hurt economically.” No doubt. If only pro-tax, “pro-environment” politicians would be equally sensitive to the economic ramifications of their policies even when they’re not immediately obvious to their own constituents.