By Fidel "Butch" Montoya
While we wait for the changes that the Obama Administration has promised to put in place to address the many issues and crisis we face, it is a good time for the Church to evaluate its mission and leadership role in a time of confusion, fear, and chaos.
The economic free fall of our financial infrastructure has created a worldwide spectacle as we watch the collapse of banks and financial institutions in which we had placed so much confidence.
Instead, we watch as multimillion dollar companies come begging to the Congress for a $34 Billion dollar bailout. The Big Three automobile companies in Detroit are afraid they will soon run out of money and force the companies into bankruptcy.
If these three mega industry giants were to go bankrupt, the domino effect on other companies that build parts and supplies for the auto industry would also end up throwing thousands of workers out of work.
There is a sense of fear and trepidation in the land that has not been felt since the Depression. There is a sense of hopelessness and confusion as government and business leaders look for multi billion-dollar solutions in hopes that more paper money will seal the financial leak.
While President-elect Obama is putting together his team and Cabinet Secretaries, business conditions continue to deteriorate as we enter a period of presidential transition.
It is as if no one knows who really is in charge. While the Inauguration date is still a month away, the problems and issues demanding immediate action cannot or will not wait.
While President Bush has essentially apologized for the recession, the lame duck Presidency is in no condition to set an agenda for recovery. President Bush and his budget people just recently determined that the country has been in a recession since December 2007. In case you have lost track of time, it is December 2008.
What are the steps we must take to create a sense of calm and hope? Is there really a solution to the financial free fall that we are experiencing not only in the USA, but now spread throughout the world. Globalization has brought not only the convenience of inexpensive goods and services; it also has tied our economies together. What now affects one major world power, affects the entire world’s financial checkbook.
The fear and the sense of not knowing what is next are troubling enough. For example, on our block, we have witnessed the terrible and sad foreclosure where our neighbors furniture and belongs are simply dumped on the street by the Sheriff department. Here was a neighbor who lived for years in our area, and all we could do was watch the doors to his home bolted shut, leaving him and his family - homeless.
On our block alone, three homes have been foreclosed on. Three neighbors who have lost their life savings and the hope of having a place to call home.
If you think that fear, does not creep up and cause one to wonder how can this be happening? Who might be next if the government cannot get a handle on the number of bad loans made by greedy mortgage companies?
It is frightening to watch the international financial collapse affect the home of neighbors who lost jobs or live savings with the collapse of Wall Street.
Is there hope for future? And how do we help create a sense of things being under control? What is the role of the Church as more and more people lose jobs and their livelihood?
Each financial quarter we have seen the unemployment figures inch slowing up showing more people losing their jobs. Even President-elect Obama has said that the financial picture will get worse before it gets better. That alone is frightening to hear as so many Americans have placed their future in the articulate and savy orator of the new President who talks about change and hope for the future.
Will his words be enough to settle the nerves of so many people who face tomorrow with fear and hopelessness?
We are living in a time of confusion, fear, chaos, and with no sense of how to fix the problem.
Fear is in the air and like sharks who can smell the blood of victims in the water, fear is building on itself.
What can we do as a people committed to serving our Lord and Savior? Is this part of the judgment on our land for the sin and careless living we have indulged in? Is this part of the price we must pay for forgetting to serve our God? Is the condemnation on our land for failing to serve the Lord our God without compromising our values and beliefs?
Some preachers will tell you yes, others are not so sure. It is very easy to place the blame on our sinful nature and for making easy living and pleasures of the world our God.
I don’t have the answer to that question, but I do know that whenever God’s people encountered a crisis, asking God to forgive their sins, and looking for Him to lead them out danger is still a viable guide for the Church today.
Can we lead the way by starting with ourselves and asking God to set us free from our sin and our lack of attention to His Word? The time for the Church to take a stand is now.
Can we, the Church be strong enough to stand and say to all that will listen, repeat and seek the ways of the Lord. Find peace and joy in the Lord. Look away from the sin and look with hope to the future by the Words spoken thousands of years ago.
God’s Word will set us free from fear and give us the capacity to lead our nation from the brink of financial doom.
Fidel "Butch" Montoya
H. S. Power & Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative
Denver, Colorado 80212