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Another fine mess

Another fine mess

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2008 5:49 pm

 The Messenger. 10.29.08

Written by members of the Obion County Ministerial Association

Anybody remember Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy? I remember them only through films much, much older than I am, but I remember one memorable thing. In nearly every movie everything would turn into chaos, and Stan would turn and say to his bewildered partner, “Well, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Ollie.

Look around and you’ll see, as you already have, that this world in which we live is another fine mess. I hope you read the Rev. Mel Jacobs’ piece last week, because he made some excellent observations. In some ways he inspired this piece. He mentioned JFK’s admonition that we should “ask what we can do for our country,” that we’re part of a “gimme” world, and that it’s not supposed to be about us.

That quotation from JFK also put me in mind of a sermon I did just a few days ago. The scripture was Matthew 22:21. It’s where Jesus says that we should render to the emperor the things that are his, and to God the things that are God’s. Because both of these come second in their respective sentences, we somehow think they are subordinate, not quite as important, maybe even ignorable. But each of these is actually the main point of those statements, especially the one from Jesus.

We are in this fine mess because we have not given to God the things that are God’s, much less been concerned about our country. We look with anger and disdain at the bankers, the brokers, the real estate moguls and the speculators as though they were the only bad guys out there, except for our legislators and regulators. Please remember that all of those people are only reflections of the rest of the society of which we are a part.

We are the ones who took out the bad loans. We are the ones who sold homes for much more than they were worth. We are the ones who hoped to make a killing in the stock market. We are the ones who keep insisting that government stay out of our private business. We are the ones who elected, and re-elected ad nauseum, the politicians we think sold us out. And we are the ones who spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.

As Christians we are supposed to be good citizens of the Kingdom of God and good citizens of the country. If we don’t find ways to hold ourselves and all others accountable for this fine mess we’re in, I suspect we are not good citizens in either.

The Rev. Hugh D. Barksdale

Mount Zion and Rush Creek United Methodist churches

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