Discerning what to do next

One of the worst (best) things about this whole economy mess is that people can finally evaluate their lives and go in new directions.

Finally! As a Methodist minister, I can tell you that there are few moments in our lives that register in our brains as an important turn in our lives.

But perhaps this whole economy thing has progressed to the point that we can see where we were two years ago, look forward another two years, and have the tools at our disposal to move to where we need to be. A popular investment firm's advertisements emphasize that now is the best time to do something with your money, and while not everyone has money to move around, there are certainly those among us who can correct some of the wrongs we've committed in the name of capitalism.

I know, sounds just a bit optimistic and incredibly vague - but I see two very real possibilities here.

1.) Dethroning the idol of money - I'm getting to the point that I'm tired of hearing about the economy. Yes, its important for us to provide for our families, maintain personal security, and take care of our responsibilities - but the conversation borders on obsession. To God's credit, you do hear lots about Jesus and God in the news.

It seems every time you turn around someone is doing something crazy in the name of Jesus. Sometimes its good stuff, like, I dunno, jettisoning the American Dream for the Dream of God's Kingdom. The American dream is undeniably wrapped in making lots of money, being secure, and hey, if you have enough, maybe sharing some of it with your neighbors (employment just below health benefits! huzzah! Thanks!). But the Kingdom of God is, and i can't stress this enough, independent of the amount of money involved.

So, I see this idol called economy twitching on the altar as we all wait with bated breath to see if it regains consciousness. You know what? Don't care. There is a stronger, larger, and more alive God that we can suddenly turn our attention to.

2.) Restructuring our churches - with the destruction of the idol of money, we finally will be able to shed the former scaffolding that we claim assists the work of the Kingdom. Why would money have anything to do with it?

Because... the Kingdom if made up of people. Systems are made up of people who follow particular rules (read: The Book of Discipline). I'm not as foolhardy as to think the Kingdom will suddenly shift into overdrive here, but I do believe the lack of money will grease the bearings and we can get this thing moving. Think about it. On the local level, churches have to cut back positions and ministries. Rather than simply disappearing, I truly believe Churches are suddenly having to get creative. We can't PAY someone to do ministry for us, we don't have any money. Wow, we either do it ourselves (as volunteers/disciples!) or it doesn't get done.

Youth ministers become more localized since they can't travel to mexico, europe, or that massive Christian retreat that costs so much money. So suddenly events in TOWN look much better. Pastors actually have to delegate work to *gasp* church members since that position is no longer available to print your bulletins anymore. Wait, bulletins? They have to go too - word of mouth, here we come.

Churches will have to change. There isn't enough money to support the system the way it was.

The death of an idol means life is going to look a lot better. You want to know what to do next? Be better than the money you are worth. Be greater than the terror being shouted from the roof-tops.

Look, if Jesus doesn't take money's place as king, something will. We cannot exist free from direction, encouragement, a means of living, or societal order. If this nation can become a Christian nation at all, it will have to do it independently of the economical situation.