Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Good News and the Bad News

I am taking a moment to catch you up on what happened yesterday. I am sitting in the library, trying not to type too loudly, because the Presiding Bishop is sitting next to me, hunched over her own laptop, deep in thought. Today (Sunday) is a very light day. It is an intentional "sabbath time," a day to relax, rest, (do laundry), and digest what we have heard the last few days. We had church this morning, and of course there are the meals. The video I've included shows us in the dining hall at lunch. The dining hall is where much of the real work of the HOB gets done. While enjoying great southern cooking, it is also the place to catch up with old friends, discuss the business of the church, and to do those vital "bishop to bishop checks" of clergy looking to move. I have about ten names I need to get a reference for while I am here.

I entitled this entry "good news, bad news", because yesterday we got a dose of both. Our main speaker was an economist from the Harvard Business School who briefed us on the depth and impact of the economic recession. The bad news? It is the worst economic crisis since the depression, and will effect us in some way for the next ten years (or at least the "seven lean years, the Bible speaks of). The cause? An unprincipled get rich quick "extended drunk" that effected us on every level. We are now paying the price for our greed. The effect on churches? Major, for even people who have money and jobs are now living in the grip of fear and will be less likely to give. The good news is that he is confident in the new administration, the attitude of the business students he sees graduating (who are committed to working rather than getting rich quick, the human resources of this country, and our innate ability to face hard times. We will make it through. His advice for those of us in church leadership? We need to counter the atmospshere of fear with a message of hope, and we have to redouble our efforts of faithful stewardship. As some of you know, I have been talking a lot with the clergy about this last topic, and will be doing a lot more in the future. Just as in the Great Depression, "We have nothing to fear, except fear itself." Perhaps in keeping with that theme, tonight we will be having a "fireside chat" with the Presiding Bishop. (I think she is working on her remarks right now).

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