Typepad is, once again, in full-on "wonky" mode. It is very annoying.
I read this post at Lauren's and the post here that inspired it. The question revolves around whether "fun" is largely subject to class and patriarchal culture -- read Lauren's post to understand a particularly powerful "yes" response.
It would be absurd to say that the blogosphere is a classless environment. On the one hand, it's hard to tell from reading a particular blog what the owner's financial circumstances are. The look and design of a blog may reveal more about the creative skills and technical expertise of the individual blogger than of his or her finances. But when the subject turns, as it did at Lauren and Twisty's, to "fun" and "recreation", then yes, class issues become evident.
Reading Lauren's post, I was reminded of something my mother always said -- and still says -- to me:
"I don't know if time is money, but I do know that money is time."
What mama means by that is this: the goal of time may not be to make money, but perhaps the greatest gift of having money is time. Time to think, time to take leisurely walks, time to train for marathons, time to exercise, time to read novels, time to travel, time to write books and create chinchilla charities and volunteer. When I was in college, I was expected to work during my summer vacations (and I had many jobs, including working a 2:00AM-10:00AM shift for the Carmel Dept. of Public Works). But during the school year, I wasn't expected to have a job. Some of the free time that gave me I wasted; some of it I spent taking long walks and reading, reading, reading. I had time to reflect, time to absorb, time to simply "be." It was a magnificent gift my family was able to give me. Money and class were reflected not in my clothes or my wrist watch but in the hours I was able to spend in coffee shops or lying under trees. Money made time, and my life would not have been the same otherwise.
Now that I am older, I feel an obligation to be a "good steward" of both time and money. While volunteering is not a luxury of the prosperous, the more resources one has, the more time one can give to one's community. For example, my wife and I have housecleaners handle many tasks around the home; among the things we do with the "time saved" is volunteer with elementary age children in South L.A. two days a week (that's her gig) and work with a high school youth group (my primary volunteer responsibility.) And then there's the chinchilla charity and other less regular volunteer opportunities.
The old "to whom much is given, of whom much is expected" adage is loaded with class implications. It is easy to make fun of the traditionally female "professional volunteers" of an earlier era. Groups like the Junior League and others raised money for hospitals and for the homeless, visited the sick, tutored in under-performing schools. Yes, they sometimes did so in pearls and sweater sets. Yes, they often went lunching or shopping when they weren't volunteering. But for the most part, they used their time and money to make the world a fundamentally better place -- and in cities and towns all across this country, the benefits of their "community spirit" survive. Many of the older women I knew growing up lived this life: not "earning" a living, but running the non-profit boards, manning the soup lines, organizing the benefits. They used the time that their money gave them, and they used it wisely.
Until the revolution comes, and while Jesus continues to tarry, those who have had the good fortune to benefit from the system have a moral obligation to share. Tithing to charity is part of sharing (and going above the 10% tithe has been a successfully met goal for us in '06); tithing "time and talent" is also, I am convinced, an ethical responsibility.
And working to create a society where more people have the luxury of time to create and invent and rest is absolutely vital.