Friday, 10 October 2008

Finance, faith and fantasy

I thought it was time I made some comment, however brief, on the world’s financial state. So far for many of us it appears to be like thunder on the edge of the horizon, something of a dramatic novelty but not a matter that directly affects us. Of course very soon it is going to be having a direct effect and not a benign one. In fact in our church it looks as though we are going to create a finance subcommittee whose brief will be to offer aid and assistance to those who will have been affected. At least that’s the plan.

Let me make two other observations.

The first is that I find myself troubled by absence of any prophetic Christian response; not to this present crisis (which may come) but to the bizarre and reckless boom we saw over the last ten or twenty years. Where were the prophetic voices saying that ‘it’s not going to last’, ‘it’s a house built on sand’ and ‘what goes up must come down’? I am happy to include myself in this critique. Frankly, even those of us who were not avid supporters of the prosperity gospel seem to have been content to receive the benefits of a financial situation that we now realise was based largely on irresponsible property speculation. I wish somewhere there was some prophetic figure who could say ‘I told you this would all end in tears’. Perhaps there is and I will be glad to hear of him or her.

The second observation is this. If there was a failure of the prophetic nerve there was also it seems to me a failure in the area of imagination. Quite simply no one seems to have been able to conceive of the scale of the pending disaster. It is almost as if an assembled mass of lemmings had peered over the cliff before them only to mutter ‘Well, it certainly looks a long way down, but I don’t suppose it can really hurt.’ Perhaps everybody should have read a few more fantasy books and a few fewer property magazines.

Other news quickly. Simeon continues to do well and gain weight and has survived his first cold. There are also some developments occurring with my writing career that I am not at liberty to discuss but which sound promising. Your prayers are welcome on both counts.

Whatever happens to the markets, have a good week.