Adam made an interesting comment about how a coming recession would provide unique opportunities for blessing others and the Kingdom of God to show through. It really got me thinking about how much truth is in that comment when we remember that much of the New Testament was written to communities in exactly that situation. They were facing dire economic situations and circumstances and Paul called them to care for each other and come together in unity. The book of James is a great example of this as community and care amongst believers was not a small group sign up type of thing, but we must in order to survive type of thing.
Being that the Kingdom of God is routinely paradoxical, it would make perfect sense for God to use something like financial calamity for the good of those who love him. If we would listen to our developing world brothers and sisters we would understand that God has been doing that for centuries. Some of God’s greatest gifts and blessings are often those that are forced upon us, through circumstances we would not on our own choose. Yet even as I type this and think about how a severe recession would have many communal blessing, I bristle at the idea. Why?
Well just like most Americans I am an individualist. I want to do my own thing. And at the core of the matter being reliant on others is a scary and foreign idea to me. I think most Americans feel this way and that is why when panic sets in, or our needs seem to be in danger of not being met, we look to the government to make it better. The government is better to be reliant on because its impersonal, not like community where there is true vulnerability in admitting need and weakness. That is much more personal. I am already hearing rumblings of a SECOND stimulus check possibly in the works. In addition, all that I have heard both McCain and Obama talk about is how they will make people’s lives better. How different this is then the clarion call of JFK, instructing us “to not ask what our country could do for us, but what we could do for our country.” We have strayed into deep individualism and the consequences are that we now view government as having the sole responsibility of maintaining that.
Now I know there are serious issues going on that deeply effect people’s lives, and they are thinking about how they can take care of their family and make their house payment, I really don’t want to make light of that. My point is simply that all the political discourse we now have is centered around what is best for people right now. There is no discussion about the long term good of the nation, or the generations to come. Nope politicians have become functional saviors/Santa’s that we go to their rallies and metaphorically sit on their lap, and tell them what we want. And if they do not deliver, well than “he’s not my President.”