Friday, October 24, 2008

Deposits Insured

Psalm 90
You remember Chicken Little. Stupid chicken. She thought the sky was falling because an acorn fell on her head. She convinces every other critter she knows that the sky is falling and they all go to tell the King who, apparently, they think is too dumb to notice the imminent end of the world himself. Foxy Woxy (or Loxy, depending on the version of the story) comes along and nearly eats all of them (a metaphor for corporate takeover?). I sort of wish he had eaten CL. A tasty little fried chicken nugget. Is that wrong?

Well, anyway... it's more than an acorn that's been falling lately in the world economy. It has hit everyone and there is a sense that this might just be the beginning. A family member lost their home in California already. I have a friend who is on the verge of losing his formerly very successful business. He's laid off all of his employees, cut his own pay to bare-bones, and brought his daughter home from OSU to attend PSU and work to contribute to the family. In our neighborhood we've seen the calls for help with utility bills and rent go from one every couple of weeks to almost daily now.

Is the sky falling? Who knows. But a bit of perspective is in order. Most of us still have jobs, homes, cars, toasters and pop-tarts. Maybe even 401Ks and nest-eggs, though they've become significantly smaller. The truth is, we've lost some our abundance, while others are losing much more. [How rich are you? Find out here] We don't yet have a clear idea of how a global downturn will impact poor nations who rely on the American economic engine, money sent back to home countries, and richer governments who cease to provide aid and debt forgiveness.

So what's our response as Christians? Do we hunker down and protect? Do we look for ways to help? Do we temper our generosity with caution? I assume we help those who need help. Responsibly, of course. But what I've noticed just this month is that people who are hurting are not only looking for tangible help, they're looking for someone who will simply listen to them. I confess I don't always want to listen; I grow callous and suspicious; I wonder if I'm being manipulated; I ... have to stop and pray. Pray for wisdom, for the mind of Christ, and the compassion of Jesus. Then I can start to respond constructively.
How about it? What can we do for each other, for those who need our support and help? I don't think the sky is falling, but there aren't as many acorns on the tree as there used to be. That might be a good thing in the long run.
Check out this site - Mustard Seed Associates - for some creative ideas others have come up with.
- Curtis