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December 12, 2008



From what I have seen, they have bought off on the system. A couple of years back, I found a site that was promoting a "Biblical" world view. Until that time I had no idea that unfettered capitalism was ordained by God. They even had proof texts that they twisted to mean that God wants the US to implement a flat tax. It's probably an extreme example.


I don't know if pastors have the courage to be the prophetic voice? As a pastor it is often easy to get discouraged while trying to speak to the issues in our lives if the poeple listening don't think they matter. I've tried talking about the financial crises but some of my parishoiners were certain that this financial crisis had something to do with prophecy and end times, when I didn't speak to that they thought I had clearly missed something. The SDA worldview has really done a number on people. Every major event that occurs is instantly associated with End Times. I tend to think that this kind of world view does more harm than good. I hope we find the courage to be the prophetic voice. thanks for you thoughts Monte.


September 15 has been labeled our economic 9/11. The carnage is still forthcoming, and we are bewildered and still reeling. Certainly greed and selfishness are components of the equation, however there is a term that is becoming mainstream in our lexicon, moral hazard. Moral hazard arises because an individual or an institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. How does this concept figure in and how should the church address it? In addition, the American consumer has been the driving engine for the world economy. The era of consumption is gone and the credit cards and home equity has vanished. Who will provide the new framework for community evolution? Finally, the happening with the Governor in Illinois maybe a blessing in disguise. A re-newed citizen vigilance should tempter graft and boondoggles that comes with massive government spending. We are squeamish about a deficit of a few hundred billion dollars. We are quickly heading to a trillion dollar deficit, i.e. five time greater! Given these factors we better hold our leaders accountable, or our children, and their children will be cursed with our debt for a very long time.


The doctrine of social justice would indicate that the church should insist on the consequences of moral hazard, but how does that apply to corporations? Alongside the idea of moral hazard another concept that has flowered in recent decades is the idea that corporations are essentially amoral, that individual persons should suffer the consequences, not institutions. This has come to mind as I have listened in the last two weeks to the debate about a "Detroit bailout." Moral hazard can be an argument for allowing the auto industry to go into bankruptcy, but it can also be an argument for even greater government intervention than envisioned by anyone to date; the true nationalization of the American auto industry in which stockholders' stakes are canceled, multi-million-dollar management is terminated and a public "receiver" takes over the entire industry with a duty to preserve jobs and as much of the economy as possible. To suggest moral hazard simply as another argument for doing nothing may, in the long run, simply pave the way to total ruin. Who knows? In reality, what we are seeing right now is clearly ad hoc responses on the part of leaders who are beyond the limits of their imagination.


I certainly prayed that the president practiced Solomonic wisdom in providing a means of saving our auto industry. It would seem as if a beginning framework maybe developing to address this distress.
I think you are very correct in observing that our leaders are groping in the dark in formulating a forwarding going game plan.
We are clearly in an era of rebuilding and renewing many institutions. This includes the manner in which capitalism is practiced. The question that is weighing on my heart is what contribution the church will bring to the table to be salt and light to bring about a new reformation. I languish in nostalgia at times when I think of Augustine et al who helped shaped society. Back in the 70’s Shaffer provided a framework that went to seed by an overreaching right. My latent concern is the secular left’s attempt to shut the Christian voice out of the marketplace. The vicious attacks on Rick Warren, attempting to label him as the second coming of Farwell was very telling. How do we engage in a shared civility in the new Obama era?

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