Monday 29 September 2008

Credit Crunch

Pastor Iain gives what strikes me as a helpful opinion on the current 'Credit Crunch'. Here's my response to his post:
A useful biblical perspective on all this can be found in the book of Revelation, where John offers his first century Roman readers a social/political/economic critique of the empire under which they were living.
John invites those in the churches he is writing to, to realise that Rome is not all it's cracked up to be, and he asks them to see through the glittering propoganda of empire, and to realise that it's actually a violent and oppressive beast, a corrupt and corrupting whore.
John then depicts in vivid language the destruction of this empire which has grown rich and fat by devouring the nations of the world for its own gain. The empire is portrayed as an ultimately self-destructive system, which consumes and consumes to the point where it consumes itself through its own greed and corruption.
John then offers those in his churches a choice: Are they going to mourn the passing of the empire, weeping and wailing as its systems collapse around them, or are they going to see its passing as the enacted judgment of God?
John's theological perspective is clear - he says the people of God should rejoice as the empire falls. Not rejoicing at the personal hurt which the empire inflicts on those it takes with it as it tumbles, but rather rejoicing that the oppressive and destructive system which appeared so eternal is actually passing into history.
The next question which John offers his readers is that of what they will construct next? Will they allow the world to reinvent Rome (or Babylon, or Communism, or Global Capitalism, or whatever)? Or will they offer to the world and alternative way of being human?
The vision of the New Jerusalem represents God's alternative city come to the earth through the church. It is a city which runs on godly rather than satanic economics, it is a city which is good news to all nations, good news to creation. It is the 'kingdom come, on earth as in heaven', to quote Jesus.
So - as the modern Rome totters, as its conspicuous consumption turns inwards in judgment, John's question to the church remains the same: How will we respond? What will we build?

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