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Faith sustains us in tough economic times

This year is already marked by financial anxiety in Clarksville, in the United States, and around the world.Global markets are clearly declining in value. As we shop and check out, the total price distresses us; as we fill up with gas (even though that cost is dropping a bit, for now) we are shocked at the cost. As we paid for our gas purchase with our Sam’s Club credit card the price was twice what it was at this time last year.

We are befuddled and and disciplining ourselves on expenditures. We diligently search for ways to reduce our travel. My daughter in Reno is resolved to not use her car one day a week. As we evaluate our financial flight we have a discoerted feeling that this financial problem is not short term, it will not be over in a few months. Our financial nosedive and free fall won’t be over for a year or two. Maybe.

There is uncertainty about our family finances. As grandparents, the saving for the education of our wonderful grandchildren will diminish as we redirect that part of our budget to survive and meet our personal needs for the basics of life.

Our neighborsare “caught in the undertow of the mortgage crisis or personal debt, losing homes and cars and more.” Others are working hard but getting poorer. There are no quick fixws for our current financial woes.

How shall we live in such a financial turmoil? Simple pieties that faith in Jesus will make everything better isn’t the answer to our woes. However, our faith, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim of any other, is a strength in this struggle. Our baptism, whether as an infant or as a believer, continues to assure us that our spiritual commitment is significant in trying times such as the financial anxiety now terrorizing us.

Our faith reassures us that we aren’t held captive by Wall Street, by oil prices or mortgage rates. Our challenge is to translate and integrate our freedom into daily living and long-term planning in these tumultuous days.

Even in this troublesome period, as God’s children, be that Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Unitarian and even our neighbors who make no religious profession, a word of praise, a generous spirit and grateful heart will benefit us with endurance, perseverance and vitality. In this worrisome, stressful, taxing and tormenting time, there are spiritual resources within to benefit us and to hold us up.

Continuing to practice the principles of saving, investing, and giving is an expression of our freedom and demonstrates that we will not be shackled from doing good by this alarming economic downturn.

It’s not too dramatic to say that prayer and fasting are often called for in a crisis, “but also vital are honest conversations with family and friends, sharing of ideas, and mutual care.” Thoughtful spiritual communion helps and supports us materially and mentally when financial hardship strikes and sinks its fangs of pain into our dreams.

We are infused inspiration and encouraged with strength and wisdom as we continue to perform spiritual principles of sharing, saving, and spending, no matter how difficult the present time. I still find power in the these ancient words of consolation: “A time to gain, and a time to lose.” ((Ecc 3.6) and “To everything there is a season.” (Ecc 3.1)

In these days, when our enthusiasm and financial gains over the years are being depleted, we can still, with God, live with hope. With determination, discipline and sacrifice we can make this epoch one of spiritual growth.

Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland, retired, has lived in Clarksville for seven years and holds great pride in his adopted city and its people. His one objection in Tennessee is the Hall law of taxes on dividends and savings. Charles served in the U.S. Army Chaplaincy from 1966-1986, retiring to serve as a United Methodist pastor near Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He serves on the Boards of Directors for the ARP, Roxy Theater and MCDP. Though retired, he is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. His five grandchildren, ages two to thirteen years, live in Evansville, Indiana. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and served in Germany and Korea while on active duty.

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