As mentioned in the previous blog, the current global economic crisis is really a moral and metaphysical crisis. All social, economic and political institutions are founded on what might be called a “mental infrastructure” or set of ideas and ideals. To put it differently every culture has a “story” that frames the life of the people and the institutions of the society. The end of the story will determine how we live our lives.
The Theistic narrative of the Bible begins in a Garden and ends in a City, the City of God. History is going somewhere and our lives have a purpose that was given by the Creator. That purpose has something to do with the long and multi-generational horizons of the coming of the Kingdom of God – the end of the story!
The Atheistic narrative of Secular Materialism says that life has come about by chance. There is no purpose in life; and when we die, our existence is over! Death marks the end of this story. This framework leads to the old hedonistic lifestyle of “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” The purpose of life is to consume and thus the emphasis in the modern world for immediate gratification and consumer and national debt. In this cultural narrative we live in a money economy. We live lives of radical individualism, self absorption, relentless speed and a quest for things. Why do we work? We work for money! The marketplace determines our worth. Money provides power and affluence and allows us to buy “stuff.”
In the Theistic narrative, we live in a calling economy (as Os Guinness describes it). We are called for a purpose. We live in a connected world of community: in relationships with God, our fellow human beings and with Creation. Why do we work? We work to glorify God, serve the larger community, build just societies and steward creation. We work to make our own unique contribution to the coming of the Kingdom of God and to “write our signature on the universe!’
The global economic crisis exists because we are functioning from a mental infrastructure that has built a money economy. And this house of cards is collapsing. Oh, it may be saved for a short period of time, but in the end it will crumble as sure as communism–the other Atheistic-Materialistic economic system–has collapsed. We need a mental infrastructure that will support a vibrant calling economy for all peoples.
-Darrow L. Miller
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