Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Challenging Times

Newsletter article this week:

President Ronald Reagan was fond of saying that the ten most frightening words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." My how things have changed. In the last few weeks we have witnessed the largest intervention of the government into the markets since the Great Depression. Brought to us by a Republican administration. Welcomed by Wall Street as well as main street. I think it is safe to say that we are in for some hard times ahead.

It remains to be seen how bad things are going to get but I think it is safe to say that everyone of us is going to feel the effects of this downturn in someway or another. We may have job losses, pay cuts, kids or parents looking to us for help, less freedom to do what have taken for granted, etc.

I think it is very important for us to be intentional about staying connected. One of the worst things that can happen when times get hard is that we allow our fears and problems to isolate us. We are embarrassed or paralyzed by fear. Talk to your friends. Check in on one another. I think we will need to be think about ways we can be more intentional as a faith community about staying in touch.

We may all be living with less for awhile. While this may feel like a burden it also presents us with opportunities to re-examine priorities and to get creative about making do with what we have. We had a group looking at simple living last year; it might be good to bring this back and create some "simplicity circles." We might also talk about ideas for food preparation and holiday preparations where less is more.

This Sunday as we continue our stewardship emphasis for the fall I am going to be reflecting on Matthew 6:25-34. This is a passage that on its surface sounds something like a "don't worry be happy" message. But in the context of the larger message of Jesus it speaks to learning to have an internal attitude of trust and gratitude and an external program of caring and justice-making. I think it is a timely message.

I hope that we will use this moment of economic challenge to deepen our faith and our community. I welcome your suggestions for how we can do this. If you have a response or idea feel free to post it here in comments.

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