Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Solving the Economic Crisis and the World's Oldest Profession

IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT PROSTITUTION is the world's oldest profession. Even yesterday I heard a discussion centered around our present economic crisis where one of the commentators said, even for all the woes which prostitution brings we need to remember that it is a player in our market economy. What?!?

His point was that where there is an exchange of "goods" and "money" it can be seen as helpful to the economy. Now, to be fair, it must be said that the speaker was not advocating prostitution, rather he was making the strong point about how deeply intertwined are culture, community and commerce.

And here we arrive at our sermon text for this coming Sunday, John 8:1-11, the encounter between Jesus, the religious leaders and the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. (Note: I realize that some feel that this section of Scripture should not be included in John's gospel account, for a concise dealing with this issue see Bob Deffinbaugh's commentary on this section. Click here.) What we do find in this passage, among others things is how to deal with immorality when it strikes us in the face, and this brings us back to the issue of solving the economic crisis.

I believe, as some others do, that our present economic crisis is a crisis of morality, birthed in greedy and ill-content hearts. It is ultimately not about poorly designed mortgages, or over-the-top interest rates, or even an over-inflated housing market. It arrives from our hearts that seek to acquire more and more in the hopes of finding fulfillment in our lives. We have searched, since our departure from the Garden, to fill that emptiness in our soul that only God can fill. And sadly, that search has often led us to all sorts of immoral activity.

Now, back to John 8:1-11. The activity of the woman was immoral. The activities of the religious leaders were immoral as well. But Jesus' response to both of them were not. His response was to point to the truth, "those without sin cast the first stone,"(John 8:7) and to the woman, "go and sin so more." (John 8:11) His response was not to rant and rave. It was not to cast stones of condemnation (though of all those gathered, he has the right), rather in quiet, patient resolve He called those present to remember the deeper truth to which we are called, and to live lives according to that truth.

I believe we can apply the way of our Lord to the present crisis in which we find ourselves, that is to not rant and rave, pointing fingers and casting blame, but rather to quietly gently, speak the truth of God, reminding ourselves that our present economy will never be changed until we see its cause for what it was, a moral failure on personal and national levels. Until we understand this truth, and change at the heart (sinning no more), there will be no solving this crisis. But, like the woman sent on her way by our Lord, there is an opportunity for a new beginning, that commences with forgiveness and grace.

How shall we then live?

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