Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Still Raging Shrug: Erratum

Last night I was contemplating the blog post I had from yesterday as I sometimes do, and I realized I'd made a logical misstep through my writing that I had not intended. I'm committed to only making minor clarifications in any edit of a previous blog post, and I thought it would be best just to add a note about the nature of that misstep. It will serve the purpose of making the post more meaningful, ironically in the sense that it was all about how much people plainly revile what is truly meaningful. But hey, in Christ -- it's all good.

I'd first written that for anyone to truly understand what really is going on when the large financial institutions announce they're closing their proprietary trading desks -- which, by the way, are those parts of the company that trade on their own profits for their own personal gain -- they'd have to be in one of the three groups. The intimation is that if you aren't in one of the groups, then you just wouldn't get it no matter how much you are being hosed.

But later I mentioned that everyone is in one of those groups. It is true that everyone is in one of those "ministries," but then that would also mean that they all do get it, that they all do comprehend what the large institutions are actually doing, and it is very clear that they don't.

How to resolve this logical misstep?

It is actually not hard. The answer is that within each ministry are different levels in which people have various considerations, desires, thoughts, passions, and yes, understandings.

The ones who understand in the ministry of sin do so because they are most successful in their human sacrifice. Others in different levels within that ministry stay there because they want to be as successful, but don't have a clue as to how they're being exploited themselves. Because of their reprobate covetousness, they simply can't squirm their way out. Of course, no one could without Christ. The interesting thing is that the best value extractors are just as exploited themselves, believing that their temporal riches will save them.

The ones who understand in the ministry of condemnation do so because they've listened so intently and followed so dutifully the instructions of their Superior Officer, disseminated throughout the Society for centuries by its sworn operatives mostly through the institutions of higher education and the mass media. These avenues are optimum for "spinning" everything, molding it all into a spectacle of humanist expectation and conduct, so understanding at the lower levels by those schlurping it up is really "disunderstanding."

The ones who understand in the ministry of reconciliation do so because they know they are loved by a Christ who died for them, and they in turn can "die" for others. They may ultimately give the full measure of devotion, but "dying" mostly just means sacrificing themselves daily to meet the needs of, to sow richly for, and to love charitably those God has sent them to fellowship with or minister to. Out of that comes an overflowing fountain of spiritual and, yes, material blessings for which the reconciler is always thanking God.

Even though everyone is in one of those camps, are there those in each camp who just can't, don't, won't understand? Absolutely.

Want understanding of that which is phenomenally meaningful? Extraordinarily liberating? Abundantly breathtaking? Splendidly impassioned? Exceedingly joyous?

It can only come through full devotion to the One Who Has All That.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Still Raging Shrug About The Vast Dearth of Understanding

I happened to catch a nice piece by Michael Lewis, you know, the guy who has written all kinds of books cutting right to what's going on in finance these days. It is a scathing exposition about what's really going on with the big institutions, but it only has meaning in light of three different perspectives.

One, you are one of the extractors he's showcasing and you're perfectly happy without truly understanding how hosed you are. Lewis brings up the possibility that there are fewer and fewer victims, but I really don't think so (and neither does Lewis). This is merely because the victims themselves are exploiter wanna-be's and can't stop salivating in their drive to be in tight with another Goldman Sachs.

Two, you are one of the regulators who gets paid big bucks to crack heads in this environment, and make no mistake, Lewis is a regulator. The media feed like sharks at a chum feast on all of this, and Lewis is just taking his highly regarded spot at the banquet table. Lewis doesn't even care that there is any meaningful enforcement, really, because his livelihood depends on the perpetuation of this value extraction.

Three, you are outside of this body of death altogether and in a place where you can insightfully discern all that this is about. That place is none other than the Kingdom of God clothed by the righteousness of Christ, by whose measure you can accurately gauge the horror of institutional human sacrifice and at the same time extend the hand of grace, peace, and wholeness to those who truly want to leave.

There they are, right there. The only three ministries that matter. Every human being on the planet is in one of them.

The ministry of sin -- the value extraction institutions enable it so well; the ministry of condemnation -- how proficient they are, the Michael Lewises and Carl Levins alike, constraining the evil enough to make it look like it really does any good in the eternal run; and the ministry of reconciliation -- deftly executed only by those truly sold out to Christ.

The thing that got me was Lewis' conclusion.

There it is, a truth in amongst the typically dreary World System pap.

"And yet news of the death of the Wall Street prop trader has been greeted with hardly a peep. And I wonder: is this the nature of our new financial order? Big decisions, in which the public has a clear interest, being made outside public view, with little public discussion or understanding."

Why no understanding? The reason comes from the words of Jesus. It is pretty simple.

"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"

Really, Michael Lewis? You think that addressing the evil more openly it will keep calloused, blood-soaked people from continuing to wallow in their spiritual sewer? That they'll stop doing their habitual human sacrifice simply because even the very best writers eloquently expose it a few times?

No, the answer is Christ. Not the churchly Christ or the cultural Christ or personal Christ but

The All-Powerful God of the Universe.

The One who loved with a self-giving love so an individual could find real joy out of that pit.

All Lewis could muster with his final closing words was

"If so [that this is the nature of the new financial order], it isn’t a future at all. It’s just the past, repeating itself."

Those in that first ministry say "Oh yeah, I can't wait to get mine." Those in that second ministry says "Keep doing it because then I have a job."

Those in the third one do precisely what Christ did.

They love them with their lives.