On a recent car trip, my wife and I were telling our son what the world was like when we were his age. One immediate difference between 2008 and 1970 is that people worried about their reputations. Having a bad reputation ruined nearly everything in life and was one of the most difficult things to overcome.
That worry about reputation kept people in line. Even more so, it kept companies in line. To have a bad reputation was certain death to most businesses. And the companies who lived and died most by their reputations? Banks and other financial institutions.
Which pretty much explains why our country is facing the financial meltdown now before us. The people who lead most companies today would sell their reputations in an instant if it meant that such a s sale could boost revenue, even if that boost came with an enormous ultimate cost.
And the financial institutions that uphold our economy did that because they thought they could make a fast buck in a new market: people who weren’t a reputable credit risk.
Some polls say that 85 percent of people in America identify as Christians. George Barna’s polls have routinely pegged the born-again Christian percentage at about 30 percent or so.
Al I have to ask is, where were all the self-professed Christians in the management of all these investment banks and their smaller regional bank cousins? Where were the Christian voices who should have been saying, “You know, reputation and ethics matter more than a quick buck”? I want to know where those Jesus-believing folks were when the decisions were made that led us into this morass.
You say that Christians weren’t in high levels in those investment banks? Wrong.
No, I can’t call them out by name, but past scandals reveal the truth. The Wall Street Journal several years back showed that nearly every major player in the business scandals exemplified by Enron, Worldcom, HealthSouth, and the like were professed born-again Christians.
What is going through such a person’s head when presented with potentially reputation-destroying schemes to make a couple bucks off sub-prime loans? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit shout no? Don’t the most basic Scripture passages kick in and warn that person against that course? Doesn’t that person ask, If I consent to this, will it honor my Lord?
I guess if their lord is the almighty dollar, then the answer would have to be yes.
So the hell with reputation. Dismiss what the men who founded the investment bank thought, even though they would’ve fired their entire board of directors if those directors tried to float such lamebrained schemes.
“But sir, we could make a couple bucks right now if we just—”
“Hell no! Not with my name and the name of my father and his father before him on the marquee.”
Cerulean Sanctum turned five-years old this month. From the beginning, readers have read my concerns about economic issues and the Church’s lack of preparation for the looming financial meltdown I believed was coming. And now that meltdown is here, at least the first stages of it. As I’ve said before, “We are not ready.” Better make that “We were not ready.”
The people in high positions in financial sectors who said they were Christians were not ready when God put the test before them.
The people in low positions who maybe should not have bought into self-destructing ARMs were not ready when God put the test before them.
And once again, the people who make up churches across this country, who continued to dance to the happy music and make no preparation for tough days—even though the Bible tells us the tough days are coming (and now God’s test is before us)—were simply not ready.
Isn’t that Jesus’ name we carry? Isn’t it His name on the marquee?
And so much for guarding our reputation as God’s people, people with foresight and wisdom, the ones who can read the signs of the times and prepare for the time when no man can work.