February 18, 2009

On the Street Where You Live

2009 1505 page7 capS THE CHORUS OF CORPORATIONS ANNOUNCING LAYOFFS SWELLS, and the number of the unemployed reaches a 25-year high, Adventists ought to be foremost in thinking about the human impact of the current grim economic news.

We all have our favorite theories as to where responsibility for this recession lies. Some blame the U.S. Federal Reserve; others cite the lack of government regulation of the banking and mortgage industries. The politically inclined remind us that economics is an extension of group psychology, and that some who made political capital during the recent election cycle now have the dubious privilege of trying to fix what they may have helped to cause.
But there can be no denying that responsibility lies with every believer to do what they can to alleviate the human misery now becoming apparent in the neighborhoods and suburbs where we live. Unless you live in some high-end zip code or rural retreat, it’s a good guess that someone within a quarter mile of you has lost a job within the past six months, and that the months ahead will only decrease that distance.
Let’s find out who they are. Let’s listen to our neighbors in community associations and sidewalk conversations. Let’s change our focus from finger-pointing or simply “waiting out the storm” to doing something practical for families facing foreclosure, losing health insurance, and falling through the so-called safety net.
Adventism is never more attractive than when Adventists bring the help and healing that wounded people crave, whether in Cairo, Egypt, or Cairo, Illinois. “The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf,” Ellen White wrote. The truth we treasure comes to life when it accompanies hot meals, shared rides, and believers who know how to pray for and with their out-of-work neighbors.
Bill Knott is editor of the Adventist Review.