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28 October 2011

The Euro's in the alltogether, the alltogether...

The Euro's in the alltogether, the alltogether...

Children's stories are perhaps more than fairy tales. I loved the Emperor's New Clothes as a child. How insightful. Or maybe this shows that nothing really ever changes. 

Today our media feast upon Eurozone leaders addressing 'a little local difficulty', i.e. around €100 billion is immediately required to shore up the banks' requirement to write off 50 per cent of Greek government debt. Less than the 75 per cent the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requested. In keeping with the best tradition of children's literature, this is given a fun yet descriptive title, 'a haircut'.

In spite of a significant recession requiring austerity, EU governments are required to raise €1 trillion as a 'bail-out' fund, or in grown-up speak 'The European Financial Stability Fund'. This provides Portugal, Ireland or Italy a trip to the hairdressers for a short back and sides! Where will that money be found?

Truth and fiction become indistinguishable. European politicians strut their stuff before the world's media. Our own prime minister seeks to join in this show, proudly celebrating that the UK is outside the Eurozone. However, we dimly hear rising above the political noise a child's voice - here represented by Euroskeptics in an e-debate. We faintly hear them say that these politicians are 'in the alltogether'! Butt naked! Duped by some unscrupulous Special Purpose Investment Vehicle Designers who have made fictitious clothing.

While we might feel deeply embarrassed, they continue to explain their nakedness as a major contribution to global economic security and stability. Is such blindness deliberate politics or desperate hope? Britain's indebtedness (government, private and corporate) amounts to 466 per cent of GDP.

For thousands of hard-working people, it means they must work longer and harder for less. And where are these 'magic' billions found? So today, the 25th anniversary of financial de-regulation or 'Big Bang Day', we can celebrate financial hardship for all and potential national bankruptcy for some.

Scripture consistently reminds us that boundaries are important for knowing both who we are and where we are. Elijah finds faith to humiliate the prophets of Baal and demonstrate King Ahab's deceit and inadequate leadership. Elijah then encounters his own fractured humanity and flees to the desert - symptomatic of how isolated and powerless he felt. He then waits and discovers the voice of God is found in the whisper, not wind, earthquake or fire. It requires active listening skills! 

It is worth remembering that God never turns a drama into a crisis. His invitation is always to wait for the whisper and avoid the distraction and intimidation of hurricane, earthquake or conflagration. Easier said than done, but one of the grace gifts the Christian community brings to national life at every level and into every sphere. Ours is a story of hope and encouragement for all. 

Jesus informed Dives (The rich man, Luke 16:19ff) that there had always been clear boundaries and where they lay - in Moses and the prophets. Our own political leaders may prove shrewd in their ability to secure their own succession and convince us of a better future. Yet the fact remains that however things are presented to human eyes, it is God who knows the heart; and life is ultimately a heart issue.  

However, I end with the encouraging news that Swiss bank UBS, recently having lost $2.3 billion through a 'rogue trader', announced to all its staff that bonuses are unaffected for anyone. Recession? What recession! Well I'm off for a haircut!!

Micha Jazz, Mediator, Trainer & Spiritual Director