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The Economy and the Christian- reflections on a limited government and the Church and abortion

I haven’t posted much on the current economic crisis.  A friend asked me what I thought.  I told him that I was unconcerned about the ‘cost’ to the taxpayers since the truth is that the government will just be printing the money anyway… the dirty little secret is that the government hasn’t needed taxpayer dollars beneath its spending for who knows how long.  The real issue here is confidence… in the market and in government.

The idea that the government will be able to solve a problem which it in fact created seems to me to be absurd on its face.  Even liberals and Democrats seem to be nervous about trusting the government to solve this matter, though they seem reluctant to admit their role in creating the problem.  All proposed solutions are patches in the sense that they only address confidence… they want to create the appearance of stability.  A substantive solution would go beyond creating appearances of stability and actually create stability.  In my view, that means allowing the bubble to burst, regardless of how painful that will be.

I think one of the lurking problems in the hearts of many is just how helpless they are in solving this issue.  There seems to be little that they can do, personally.  I think we should all come to grips with reality:  this is the way the government prefers it.  They want to be needed, and creating problems that only governments can create and solve are the best ways to do that.

This whole debacle is more evidence to me of the need for limited government.  The more power you give to the government to help you the more power it has to hurt you.   If only we could be sure that governments were filled with benevolent geniuses!   Then we wouldn’t need to worry about it hurting us!  Alas, the evidence has been in for a long time that many in the government are dumb scoundrels, and if they don’t start that way, that’s what they become.

Those of us who are Christians should want to be in a position where the government has as little influence in our lives as possible.  Our economy is designed so that our individual affairs are affected by even small strokes of a pen by people who do everything in their power to insulate themselves from the effects of their own actions.  Worse, things in Russia, China, and the Middle East can hurt us, too.  We should want to be free from every unnecessary tie that enslaves us and attaches us to the whims of the world.   This economy might depend on credit and debt to get by- that doesn’t mean that we should.

Without going too deep, I believe that our ties to the world here imperil many of our most important ministries.  For example, churches stand by and let their professional ministers (pastors, teachers, youth directors, DCE’s) take out massive student loan debt and then pay them only peanuts.  I’ve literally heard parishoners say, “Well, you’re in ministry, you shouldn’t expect to make a lot of money!”  Granted, but in the past church workers weren’t saddled with tens of thousands in debt before they take their first pay check.

Similarly, it has long been noted in the abortion debate that Christians should be putting their money where their mouths are in the sense of taking care of the women who are considering abortions.  But Christians can’t put their money where their mouths are because they too are enslaved by debt!  Freeing ourselves from the way the world runs the economy will allow us to put our money where our mouths are in regards to the women we want to keep their babies, our obligations to the poor in general, and the support of the church workers we desperately need.

This current crisis is a wake up call for the Christian community.  Our hope should never have been in the government.  Never.  We have paid the price in numerous ways, including opening ourselves up to this underlying and potent challenge:  we are indistinguishable from the nonBelievers around us in every respect.

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