Thursday, March 26, 2009


"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Barack Obama
Long since spoken and backed away from in his pursuit of the Presidency, Obama's quote remains representative of our human nature in times of struggle. For many, the "hope" he was peddling has drifted away from Obama being the one to "change" the course of the country, to a much higher power. Statistics seem to indicate that for many, these tough economic times have drawn America back to simpler times; frugality, a much simpler way of living, and yes, their religion.
While the retail stores wait for customers, church pews are filling with people looking for solace during the economic downturn. Many churches and places of worship are reporting a 10 to 20% uptick in attendance in the last 12 months alone. In times of affluence and prosperity there is a tendency to be forgetful of the divine. But when a crisis hits, it is natural for people to drift toward institutionalized religion or spirituality. People are hoping to find comfort and a source of optimism. They have lost their investments, their hard-earned money and feel like they have been cheated. But they have faith that somehow whatever transpires is part of the divine grace, and indeed, a divine plan. As times worsen, the typical citizen is clinging to the hope and faith that somehow a force is controlling what they cannot. And in that hope, that the same force will see them through to better days.
As parishioners flocks increase, so do the calls for faith, hope and charity to see us through. And while most if not all charitable organizations are realizing less contributions, religious organizations are stepping in and filling the breech. Food banks, counseling, help to the homeless, and even employment assistance and credit counseling are but a few of the ways they are stepping in to help.
I am not one to proclaim the positives involved in these financial times, but I can certainly see that this country has a need to turn inward, to change their own lifestyles and habits, and if this includes a return to spirituality, so much the better.
And that is the world...."The World According to Kimba"
Thanks for reading.

No comments: