St Andrew, Glencairn

Glencairn Methodist Church

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October 2008


The Credit Crunch


Just recently nearly every news bulletin on TV and radio has been about the Credit Crunch. Yards and yards of commentary have been written in newspapers. Daily there is talk of share values falling and banks failing and being taken over. Shareholders have lost money, mortgage borrowers have had to make larger monthly repayments, and savers have been anxious about losing the money in their accounts, especially pensioners whose savings are their "nest egg" for old age. Presidents and Chancellors appear grim faced on TV and wonder what to do next. Prices are rising and unemployment is looming for many. It is a scary time, and not just in this country  but across the world.


The word "toxic" is much used. We hear of toxic loans, toxic mortgages and toxic debts. Perhaps describing something as "toxic" is an attempt to hide some of the awfulness of using the word we should be using - "poisonous"! Something is poisoning the system and it is having all the bad effects mentioned above. And it is not been too difficult to pinpoint the source of the poison - the ever accelerating rush to make a bigger profit than the next person, often at the expense of the next person. This led bankers to take risks lending money to too many people who might have difficulty repaying. Now it is of course good that banks should lend money and that people should borrow what they can afford to enable them to buy a expensive item like a house for example. And while we like to point the finger of blame at the reckless bankers and their big bonuses, most of the rest of us were happy to have a cheap loan, good dividends and high interest on our savings. So to some extent society as a whole is to blame, even though the small saver or borrower does not have much control over the process.


The poison is that we in society have ceased to care enough for other people. The prophet Amos was particularly strong in denouncing sharp practice in business. And at creation, God gave humans charge of the earth, to be good husbandmen. In many ways were are failing to do this as God would like. And so the poison has spread. Nevertheless when this has run its course, when overheated markets once again achieve equilibrium, when we lend no more than is prudent, when we borrow no more than is sensible and the poison is drawn off, then we have God's promise through Amos, "The time is coming when the mountains shall drip sweet wine and all the hills shall flow with it."


But for now, we must pray for good government that will seek to support those who suffer most until healing comes.




30 September 2008


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