Moral bankruptcy

September 29, 2008

culture / ministry

To take a small break from my current series, like most of us I’ve been thinking a lot about the screwed toilet scum really awful status of the American economy and what caused it and what is being done about it.

Several nights ago, I watched Jon Stewart discuss this with, among others, Bill Clinton. I was struck by the wisdom in what he said about the economic choices that we as Americans have made in the last several years. He spoke about our choices to pour money into the housing market in unreliable ways when, if we had had the foresight, we could have poured it into, for example, renewable energy. The difference that could have been wrought in our economy is mind-boggling to think about.

Now, of course this was an unveiled reference to the fact that Al Gore did not become president in 2000. Many of us agree that we would be better off if he had, but if you write off the words simply based on partisan politics I think you miss the wisdom that is there. We – we as Americans – chose to be the materialistic, selfish, pathetic slaves of the American Dream and we went after things that we knew we didn’t need and couldn’t afford, and now we are paying for it.

We can lay some of the blame for this at the feet of the companies who’s names are now in the obituaries, and we can lay some of it at the feet of governmental priorities and selfish interests, but we cannot escape from the fact that some of it is our own fault.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, Bono reminds us that, as our government asks us to let it dig into its pockets to bail out the corporations that helped give us our materialistic fix, we still don’t care enough to meet our own promises to the poor and oppressed of the world; promises that in their totality are a fraction of what we will spend to bail out corruption. We are morally bankrupt.

Morally bankrupt. We don’t care.

At Revolution, for what it’s worth, we have started to look into the book of Jeremiah. I believe we’ll be spending a good amount of time with it. These messages will be posted on the website, if you have interest in this. Parallels can be made, of course, between various parts of our current situation and various parts of the text. But the one that I’m the most interested in at the moment is Jeremiah’s relentless care.

Jeremiah spends almost 60 years speaking the heart of God to the people of Judah and taking the people of Judah to the heart of God: defending the poor and the oppressed, rebuking the worship of other gods and the false worship of the true God, vying for wise political and cultural decisions, and praying for the people of Judah, asking for mercy on and from them, and trying to be a consistent presence on their behalf. God tells him to stop praying for them, and yet he continues to cry out for them.

Many of the bloggers in post-charismatic circles are spending the month of September looking at what apostolic leadership should look like; I want to present a reminder that we need to look at what prophetic leadership looks like as well. We need to be reminded of the passion that Jeremiah had to bring God and a group of materialistic, oppressive, selfish, and morally bankrupt people together.

Notice, finally, the almost complete absence of a Jeremiah to speak to our time. High profile religious leaders in our country have been almost silent as our moral bankruptcy has continued to grow and our financial bankruptcy has begun to manifest itself. Thank God for Bono.