As has been clear from the beginning of our present economic crisis, our distress is about more than money or the lack of it. The problem is moral, even spiritual, and it will not be resolved by financial bailouts, corporate restructurings, salary caps, or caps on emissions. As Paul Tournier observed a generation ago, "Ultimately it is the spiritual destiny of man which is being played out in his physical and economic destiny." At just the time America most needs the message of repentance and faith - of the new life in Jesus Christ - we who believe in Him have made ourselves a stench in our neighbors' nostrils. We have a lot of work to do if we are to earn the right to talk with our neighbors about the Gospel of the Kingdom. That work begins before God in prayer, repenting of our hubris, self-righteousness, and indifference to the needs of the lost. It goes from there into the world - into each of our spheres of influence - with the towel and basin in hand, listening and looking to meet needs in love. If we expect to be a source of healing for our nation, we must begin with being healed ourselves, so that we will have the spiritual health needed to help those around us. The government continues throwing money and reforms at the economic crisis, and the nation anxiously waits to see if any of this will do any good. It won't. Oh we may experience some short-term relief and even avert a larger disaster than what has already occurred. But the economic problem in this country is one of spiritual vacuity - a fixation on self, things, wealth, comfort, and ease that thinks sacrifice and self-denial are other people's callings, and not ours. Nothing short of a spiritual revolution in the souls of Americans will keep us from traveling this doleful road again some day soon.
T. M. Moore