Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Living in the Crisis

Two years ago, I blogged through Strauss and Howe's The Fourth Turning, a book written in the late 1990's that suggested, among many other things, that we would be soon entering a culture shaking crisis.

And then, a few years after that book came out we had 9/11
.... and the war on Terror
.... and the rise of China as an economic superpower
.... and the immigration crisis
.... and the re-establishment of Soviet-like aggression in Russia
.... and now the financial market debacle

Friends, we're not just entering the crisis.... we are living in the midst of a crisis that is maturing around us as we speak. The voices proclaiming the decline and fall of our culture are many. Consider a few titles on the shelves at your local book merchant:

Also consider the panic that is setting in: a herd mentality driving sell offs in securities, people snapping up gasoline in the South due to shortages, anger over the bailout bill leads millions to call their congressional representitives. Things loook bad.

Yet, strangely, this is the great time of opportunity.

Strauss and Howe offer suggestions for living in the crisis: build relationships, self reliance, return to the classic virtues of thrift, reliability, integrity, etc.

I suggest also that these times ought lead us to prayer, study, fellowship, worship, and a greater generosity. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians (that wonderful book of comfort that should be required reading for us all in these times) "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised." (5:14-15). We are not our own, but His. And we will be His and live for His sake in times of prosperity and fatness, and in times of leanness and struggle.

Indeed, this may well be an opportunity for many of us (and I count myself chief among all sinners) to repent of our self-centered ways ... to trust in the Lord's provision and be about the business of being a blessing to other people. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph 2:10) Part of living for Him is living for others ... not that good works earns us salvation, but that when we're saved, He shapes us for good works.

We'll all be struggling: financially, emotionally, in our homes. This is the time for us to draw closer together .... look at how we can share, help one another out, meet one another's needs as we're able. We'll discover that we can entertain ourselves, rather than relying on the cradle of narcissism that celebrity culture has become. We'll discover that we can make many decisions for oursleves, without relying on experts to tell us how we ought to be. We'll discover our own tastes and styles, rather than being lapdogs to the mavens of fashion.

Our culture is not falling apart --- just the high-flying consumeristic element of it that preys upon the insecure. Now, we who build our lives upon the Rock that is Christ have the opportunity to build better culture.......

So let's be about it.

Soli Deo Gloria