Tuesday Morning Musings

Quite often we, as Christians, are tasked to consider how we should live, and how we should relate to our Creator, and to each other, and to the world at large.  We have a wealth of information provided to us in the Bible, and the (hopefully) obvious suggestion would be to go and study, and learn therefrom.

Consider the following examples:  Adam, the father of us all, King David, and Elijah.

Adam had a perfect relationship with God before the fall.  He stands as an example of what humanity was meant to be, and how we were intended to relate to God.  There are so few verses describing this state, and yet we see an idyllic world.  The more adventurous of us might take issue with what would seem to be a boring and challenge-less lifestyle; in fact, we know so little about that world that one cannot honestly assess it properly.  Nonetheless, we see how things could have been, without Sin.

King David, larger than life, colorful beyond Hollywood, famous and possessing riches beyond measure, is described as a “man after God’s own heart.”  He was far from flawless, but that in itself stands as a testimony to the potential we have.  If David sinned and was forgiven, can we not also be forgiven?  David’s life is a standard to which we can aspire as leaders, as worshippers, and as fallen-and-forgiven members of the family of God.

Then we have Elijah.  The prophet, appearing shortly after the reign of King David, provides a bit of a glimpse of the mystery and supernatural attributes of God.  It is Elijah who calls fire from heaven to consume his offering, and his sarcastic jabs at the prophets of Baal warm my contrarian heart (“is your God perhaps busy taking a crap?”), as are his frequent run-ins with the government, that being King Ahab.  More importantly, he prefigures Christ in that he restores life to a widow’s son, and is caught up in fire and taken to Heaven.  His life was, in many ways, as colorful and turbulent as  was David’s, and Elijah offers us some ideas of how living for God might not consist of (solely) piety and quite contemplation.  Elijah was noisy, rebellious, and unwavering in his devotion to God.

There are many examples of people we should emulate.  Ruth, Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Joseph, Mary, Paul the apostle, St. Peter… Why did I choose these three?  More importantly, why did I not choose any examples from the New Testament?

Consider Elijah and David.  They did not have the New Testament as a roadmap for living.  They did not have many of the writings of the prophets (Elijah was a prophet).  David didn’t have the Psalms as a pattern of worship; in many ways, he invented worship.  Abraham had little more than the direct words from God himself, as did Moses.  Adam had nothing, other than his direct interation with God.

What would we do today, as children of God, if we didn’t have the words of Paul?  If we didn’t have the written words of Jesus?  What would we sing, if we didn’t have the Psalms as source material?  If we had none of the prophecies?  How would we know how to live?

We take for granted, an immeasurable wealth, uncountable riches, these words of God which are available to all of us.  How many Bibles do we have, untouched?  We can, in a few seconds, call up any scripture we like, in any of scores of translations, thanks to search engines.

What if we had none of that?  How would we live?

Adam, David, and Elijah knew.  How much of a shame is it, that we struggle to live, even to a tenth as they did, when we have the instruction manual at our fingertips, as they did not?



Thoughts on the Greek Tragedy

So I’ve been reading various opinions on the interesting debacle in Greece. The overwhelming ‘oxi’ (no) vote (anyone else thinking oxi-clean?) seem to be grounded in a desire of the Greek citizenry for autonomy.

While my Libertarian heart agrees with their sentiments, I have to ask, why did Greece think it was such a good idea to join the EU in the first place?

Answer: Because they were a poor country, looking to become rich by joining up with rich countries, while neglecting the causes of their own relative poverty. In short, they are the irresponsible relative who comes begging every month for money to pay the rent, all the while castigating you for having the temerity to suggest that they might want to stop pissing away money hand-over-fist for non-essentials, and possibly look for a job.

The bigger issue is this: An economy is a balance of various factors in a society — productivity, among other things. The Greek culture celebrates its leisure — Greece is known for its liberal policies on the work-week, retirement age, and generous pensions. All of this makes for a nice relaxed attitude toward life, except that, all other things held equal, there will eventually be an issue of being unable to put as much food on the table as one would like.

Say’s law states that (basically) output is equal to input – you cannot enjoy the fruits of society unless society actually produces fruit. A society which congratulates itself on a low level of productivity, will be saddled with a corresponding low level of product – in short, if you work less, you had better be ready to enjoy less.

Greece (and they are by far alone in this) wanted the eat their cake and have it too. They insisted upon their right to produce less, while demanding (far more than) their fair share of the output. They managed to accommodate themselves by borrowing, then borrowing again. Indeed, their primary interest in joining the EU seemed to center around the fact that membership there-in, guaranteed them an unending bail-out for their poor economic sense.

Math being unaccommodating to wishes, Greece soon reached the point where they had to borrow to simply pay the interest on the loans.

When the creditors finally demanded that Greece straighten up, at least to the point of being able to pay interest, then, and ONLY then, did Greece rebel against the EU. They wanted the rest of Europe – specifically Germany – to shut up and pay their rent. Over and over.

So, yes, kudos to Greece for realizing that it sucks to have someone in a position to tell you to stop wasting money (and your life) away. But they deserve several wacks with a clue-bat for putting themselves into that position in the first place.

The concept behind the EU and the Euro was always stupid, and any honest economist could tell you that, and why that is the case, inside of two minutes. Unfortunately, the media and various governments are riddled with dishonest economists. The current debacle in Greece is the thoroughly predictable result.