Despite the icy roads and blowing snow, we had a good turn out tonight for Udo Middelmann’s lecture on Christians and the economy. It was a special treat to meet Debbie Middelmann, the daughter of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. She spoke of caring for Edith, who though 94 and ailing, is still fighting for and enjoying her life. Debbie said that unlike other Swiss Christians, who want Edith to let go and depart for heaven, she insists that death is the enemy that is to be resisted until the end. So rather than long for Jesus to take her mother, she prays for Jesus to come. She really should write down her journey of caring for her mother, as this would be a terrific practical application of the culture of life which her father wrote about so many years ago.
During Udo’s talk he mentioned that one of the causes of our economic crisis is our individualism. It hit me that I was guilty of this in my reaction to this week’s proposed mortgage bailout. I had selfishly said that it wasn’t fair that those who acted irresponsibly received tax dollars when I didn’t. The government and the media encouraged this selfish thinking when they told us that we should accept this because it is really in our individual best interest to stem the tide of foreclosures.
I don’t know if it would change what I think the government should do, but I know that I’ll be less angry if instead of focusing on the injustice done to me I ask what is in the best interest of these borrowers who are underwater. What if I ask what is the loving thing to do towards them? And towards the other responsible borrowers? Perhaps it is loving to permit them to suffer the consequences of their bad loans, perhaps not. But I like that I’m asking what is in their best interest rather than simply what is in mine.
I’m ashamed that I haven’t asked that question until now, but instead have focused mostly on the implications for me. But asking the question in this way seems much more Christian, and it also has the side effect of lowering my blood pressure.
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