Thursday, September 25, 2008

The heart of bailing out...


As I thought and prayed about what to say in this blog on this day of prayer, fasting and advocacy, I had originally planned to speak to the poverty we find here within the United States. Specifically, I was going to speak to the high rate of infant mortality that is truly an epidemic among poor African Americans here in my own State of Tennessee and across the rest of the nation. I was going to speak to the fact that this phenomenon is a replication of the plight of poor folks all over the world and how it is a matter of the “haves” and “have nots” living separate lives, even though we are next door to each other... but I will save that for another blog here soon.
Instead, I decided I would speak to the one thing that has been in our thoughts and minds all week; the “melt down of Wall Street”. Now I know some of you might be thinking I have gone off the deep end by daring to compare the collapse of the American economy with the plight of the extreme poor in the world. However, it occurred to me this week that the root of the turmoil on Wall Street and the existence of extreme poverty are absolutely related. The problem of ending extreme poverty in the world seems on the surface to be an issue of “not enough resources”. We know that it would only take 0.7% of the world’s wealth to put an end to extreme poverty. Yet there is something that keeps us that are living in privilege from doing that. And that “something” is a heart problem...
You see, both the collapse of the economy and the poverty of the world are symptoms of our mindset and general approach to life. We have let our greed infiltrate us to the core and take over our hearts. We have let our fear of loosing what we cling to pull us into the mire of avarice. The privileges we have been blessed with have become our curse. The God we say we worship and say we trust in is only a concept. We hold up “family values” and belief in God as what drives up. But our actions and way of life points to something different. The recent events of this week and last are the evidence for that... As my friend The Rev. Mike Kinman so eloquently put it, “we dole out resources to the poor with an eye-dropper...” Then we build monuments to the almighty dollar that has printed on its side, “In God We Trust”. It is truly the definition of irony...
The leaders of our country will be making some hard decisions this week about how we are going to handle the crisis with the economy. It is pretty poignant to think that at the same time that congress is debating in Washington what to do about bailing our Wall Street, that in New York, the leaders of the world will be discussing the crisis of extreme poverty. It is so incongruous. Nevertheless, it is really dealing with the same issue. It is a matter of the heart and taking a hard look at what we really value.
Even though I know it will not happen this week, but I have wondered something... What would our world be like if we were to bail out the people of poverty in the world with the same fervor as we are wanting to bail out Wall Street... What if... we spent 700 billion dollars on the Millennium Development Goals... My hunch is that if we did that, the turmoil in the Middle East would come to a screeching halt; terrorism would see a drastic decline; there might even be a decline in global warming! But most importantly, the hearts of men and women all over the world would be changed. We would be “transformed by the renewing of our minds”. Jesus said, “"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money...” (Mat. 6: 24-25) We have the opportunity to serve God. We have been serving money and look at that outcome...
My prayer on this day of advocacy for the Millennium Development Goals is that our nation and world will have a transformation. I pray that our leaders will have the insight and courage to truly trust in God and end the cycle of greed and poverty in the world. I pray too, that our hearts will be healed and that we will move from the fear of loosing what we think we are entitled, to becoming true stewards of what God has given us by his grace. I pray for forgiveness from the sin of greed. I pray for comfort to all those who suffer from hunger and poverty. Lord give us peace in the world and change our hearts. Help us to show your love through our actions. All this we ask in your name. Amen...

1 comment:

Border Explorer said...

//What if... we spent 700 billion dollars on the Millennium Development Goals...//

Great point. Wonderful post.