Friday, December 05, 2008

the thing that we fear the most...

to preface this post, i want to say that i pray for those directly affected by the recent woes of the auto industry: the middle class workers and management that will most certainly feel the sting of the impending decisions made by our government regarding bailout. i am not an unfeeling robot, political party loyalist, or ideological absurdist. i am a caring, compassionate Christian who is genuinely seeking to live in a manner that facilitates bringing about the kingdom/commonwealth of God on earth as it is in heaven.

that being said, i feel that i would be hypocritical if i criticized one institution while sparing another which seems to be in a similar position. i have given the institutional church and organized religion enough of my attention, often criticizing its leadership and members for allowing this institution to become irrelevant, inefficient, and devoid of any real fix on what is going on in the world around it. i have criticized this institution for being 20-30 years behind the times, thereby relinquishing its ability not only to truly be innovative, cutting edge, and creative but transformational as well. as i listen and watch the CEOs of the "big 3" american automakers plead to congress for billions of dollars in bailout money for their multi-national corporations, these same critiques regarding the institution of organized religion/"the church" come to mind. for years, american automakers have sold consumers automobiles that burn a great deal of fossil, emit large amounts of harmful elements into our environment, and cost thousands to repair. there has been little innovation from these corporations in the area of producing a more efficient and more effective product. they have, over time, lost relevance with their market audience, building bigger instead of better, producing more and more without regard for a market that has the possibility of change in a short amount of time. they have not listened to consumers who, especially recently, have called for more fuel-efficient modes of transportation, more environmentally friendly means for mass production. they have plowed ahead with business as usual, business which has gotten them through the last 20-30 or more years with very little reproach or decline, they have depended upon out-date business models of free enterprise and did not take into account the changing tastes of more educated consumers. and for ignoring all this and so much more, they are now paying for it. or, more precisely, they are asking that we pay for it.

i believe that powers and principalities including multi-national corporations like the big 3 can be redeemed but a great deal of redemption may come from repentance and possibly even a massive shut-down and re-build of the industry. it may take the "death" of the big 3 to bring to life an auto industry that comes back built upon innovation, creativity, environmental friendliness, and small operation rather than one built upon a false reliance upon "what has always worked", long-term consumer trends, and mass-production. though massive amounts of people would be jobless and it could spiral USAmerica into another depression, it may be exactly what is needed long-term to reform an industry that is seemingly inefficient, irrelevant, and out of touch with the world around it. but the refusal of a bailout leads to something more grim, something more deeply troubling to the media outlets that are covering this: massive unemployment and possibly depression.

why are we so fearful of the death of three companies that have demonstrated such little regard for the common good? is it the fear of sparking another great depression? maybe we in USAmerica have forgotten the lessons of the great depression because, in the distance of 70-80 years, we have falsely believed that we, in america, were somehow "safe" from anything bad happening like this ever happening to us again. not to say that i am nostalgic for the great depression, i wasn't alive during the first one and i honestly do not know the hardships of hunger, joblessness, and homelessness first hand. i am simply wondering if maybe we are afraid of the prospect of massive amounts of people being jobless, hungry, and homeless in america (maybe even ourselves or our own family) because we, especially those of us who claim the mantle of "Christian", would be confronted with the reality of actually helping our neighbor, actually feeding the hungry, actually taking people and families in to live together in community with one another. maybe we are less afraid of those faceless "unemployed" and more afraid of losing value in the treasures we have stored up for ourselves here on earth where dust and rust and moth can invade. maybe the fear over the impending loss of the big 3 points to something far more deeper and sinister than depression or unemployment but selfishness and greed. maybe we are allowing these forces to seduce us into believing that buoying failing institutions like car companies with billions of dollars will protect what is truly closest to our hearts, especially during this season of consumerism and greed, where commercialism fools us into believing that the greatest gift is the most expensive one (i find the cars with the giant red bows especially ironic). maybe we are being seduced yet again into putting our faith into an institution that has shown that it lacks the ability to be transformational and therefore averting, for now, any impending inconvenience.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I think part of the fear is that actually having to share with others and to care for one another undercuts the American ideal of the “self-made person”. I agree this fear of the fall of the big three has repercussions which I am sure I do not fully understand, however I also agree that there is also a fear of letting these three fail because of the dependency on our neighbor that would come as a result of this. I am not advocating for a jobless country or a nation of homelessness, but I am advocating for a nation built on actual compassion of action and not just compassion of rhetoric. Would I be willing to invite someone to live with my family who is directly affected by the crisis, I would hope so. Will I get a chance to find out... on one level I hope not, but on another perhaps that is the way of national transformation?