Monday, October 18, 2010

Human Life Well-lived in Common

Over the last two weeks, business, civic, and political leaders have been meeting in Tijuana in a conference, Innovadora, aimed at building a hopeful and collaborative future for our regions, a future that transcends the international border that separates Tijuana from San Diego. On this side of the border, we are keenly aware of our own critical needs. Nevertheless, it is surprising to no one that Tijuana is in dire straits. Indeed, the future of these two cities are inextricably connected—thus, the international nature of the conference.

The conference planners focused on four areas: infrastructure, human capital, public safety, and cross border ties. These issues were framed in business and economic terms. However, it is good to remember that the word, "economy," is the word, "housekeeping." In reality, four focal issues of Innovadora are issues of housekeeping for the human family sharing hearth and home along a maritime desert coast. These issues are theological issues to which the Church is called to be a player.

Rowan Williams rightly suggests centering these matters of economy in his new work, Crisis and Recovery: Ethics, Economics, and Justice:

“…the question of how we think about shared wellbeing is the central one before us. Theology does not solve specific economic questions (any more than it solves specific political or scientific ones); but what it offers is a robust definition of what human wellbeing looks like and what the rationale is for human life well-lived in common.”

I am a bit haunted by the word that dangles at the end of that quote, "common." With a guarded border, there is no sense of the commons—no common space, no common economy. In our diocese, we are working more and more with partners at Dorcas House in Tijuana and with the Diocese of Western Mexico.

Maybe, just maybe, our contribution will be in creating a sense of life lived in common. Could it be that these two cities could increasingly be seen as one?

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