Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's the Relationships Stupid!

For all of the talk about the financial meltdown or even terrorism that has cast a bit of a pall over 2008, there is a much greater meltdown that has occurred... trust. Our trust in our government has been shattered by a war that has questioned motives and honesty and continuous scandals from our "leaders", most recently Illinois's own governor. Our trust in our systems, financial or otherwise have also been strained.

Jim Wallis wrote these words in a Sojo eletter-

The heart of our faith is about relationships. How they are broken and how they are fixed. Righteousness is the term we use that means “right relationships.” It may sound like an oversimplification, especially in light of all of the complex market instruments that are in use today, but the root of all of this financial mess and turmoil are broken relationships, broken social covenants.

The relationship between employer and employee. The relationship between corporations and community. The relationship between stock holders and executives. The relationship between consumers and their creditors. The relationship between the businesses, the government, and our civic institutions. The relationship between people and the planet we live on. These relationships are broken, distorted, and even abandoned. All of them are in need of redemption.

Trust is the bedrock of relationships. When this has eroded, so has the relationship. And when we cease to have good-faith relationships, we are truly doomed. But it's in this season of gloom that I also take light in the fact that I have seen on a micro-scale trust being restored through the church. I have witnessed friends who have been through incredible heartbreak being comforted by their church family. I have seen those crushed by the economy who have been blessed by unexpected generosity, reminiscent of Acts 2 and 4. And I have observed people being loved on as they find their way back to God.

The universe began with relationships (God-three-in-one) and it will continue to be fueled by them as well. Forgiveness, redemption and restored trust is really the only thing that gives me hope for the coming year. And having witnessed what I have, I am hope(full).