No doubt almost everyone reading this is feeling the pinch. You’re most likely paying more than $4.00 per gallon for gasoline; you’re also paying more for everything else as a result of record-high oil prices. On the heels of the housing and mortgage crisis, the oil crunch could not have come at a worse time for some people. (The Iraq War isn’t helping any, as American forces are burning an astonishing 3 million gallons per day in the effort.)
As a result we are all tightening our belts. The blog hostess at Benedicamus Domino – another northern California Catholic blog – would like to know what you are doing to cut back. Indeed, she has an impressive list of her own – do give it a look. She writes:
“Rather, keeping in mind those who (especially now, with food shortages) have far less than we, and striving to avoid gluttony and idolatry, we should try to imitate the simplicity and humility of the Holy Family. This isn’t a left vs. right thing, or a commie vs. capitalist thing, or an atheist vs. believer thing. True, many of the ‘green’ ideas out there have been entangled with misanthropy and made-up goddess Earth theology. But at their essence, there is no reason why a Catholic cannot embrace practices that are thrifty, don’t pollute or pollute less, and try to best express the commandment to ‘love thy neighbor’…
So let’s strip away all of the earth-goddess, human-hating detritus and get down to one question: the essentials are becoming increasingly expensive. What are you doing to save money these days? Of course, the follow-up statement to the first statement is that it shouldn’t take an empty wallet to make simple, humble and charitable choices about where you spend money. We should aim for this moral trifecta even in times of plenty.”
Wise words, these. As for the Culbreaths, the changes we have made have not been made from lofty motives. I can say that we are definitely driving less. I normally like to meet my clients face-to-face because it is always more productive, especially when collecting documentation. But lately I’m using fax and e-mail even if it takes longer, even if it means doing without originals and using compromised images, even it means taking longer to establish good client relationships. When I do meet clients, I try to avoid meeting them for lunch. As a family we’ve stopped taking our occasional leisurely drive around the countryside. We’ve stopped making impulsive trips to town for this or that little thing we might “need”. We don’t really have an entertainment budget, so there’s nothing to cut back there. But I’ve had to put some farm projects on hold. The truth is that we haven’t really sat down to figure out what could, or should, be cut back, so I appreciate being reminded that a material crisis can be a spiritual opportunity.