There is a lot of talk out there about the end of the American Dream.

I looked up American Dream on Wickepedia and learned that the dream included two things: freedom and prosperity.  That’s why immigrants–your and my ancestors–sacrificed to come here.  They came longing for religious and political freedom as well as the hope of accumulating more wealth.

The Recession has caused us to question the prosperity part of the dream.  College graduates are not sure they will make as much as their parents, and people without a sheepskin despair of finding any job at all.  Nine percent unemployment persists, and is probably a greater percentage than that.

In the days in which we had seemingly unlimited natural resources and when we were on top of the economic mountain, the dream was tenable.  It was a myth you could tell your children, they would believe it and work hard, and sure enough the dream would come true.  But now?

Rahm Emmanuel has been quoted as saying, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”  Could this be less of a crisis and more of an opportunity for us. . . . .spiritually?  Could this be a wonderful chance to go through the probably painful process of letting go of our unlimited hunger for consumption and reshape our American Dream by deleting the word “prosperity” and substituting the term “enough”–i.e. enough to live on comfortably.  And then, with the rest of our energy, time and resources building a society focused on the common good rather than individual advancement?

What do you think?

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Tom Holmes

Tom's been writing about religion – broadly defined – for years in the Journal. Tom's experience as a retired minister and his curiosity about matters of faith will make for an always insightful exploration...