I was laid off three months ago (Jan. 15th). This time has be one of great reflection about how faith affects America's current economic crisis and what it will take to turn things around. Below are my thoughts.
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
The quote above is the last line of the Declaration of Independence, the historical document declaring the United States of America a sovereign nation. This phrase demonstrates the co-authors’ reliance or faith in a being greater than themselves. With this same faith we must once again mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor to shaping an America where all citizens endowed by their Creator can experience the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
The Declaration of Independence is such an intriguing document because it courageously addresses both the secular and spiritual nature of individuals and institutions. References to God, Creator, and Divine Providence demonstrate a belief in a being beyond human existence. There was a fervent hope in the ideas and beliefs conveyed in this foundational document. Faith compelled the “Founding Fathers” to pioneer the journey toward the American Dream.
This country must revive the journey began by the members of the Second Continental Congress (adopters of the Declaration of Independence) on July 4, 1776. Their faithful spirit must move beyond the sturdy walls of Congress to the fragile sidewalks of impoverished neighborhoods. People must regain faith in their dreams of every child receiving an education, every individual being financially stable, and their ability to construct a neighborhood that will be a beacon of hope for the nation.
As our country strives to recover from its current economic (perhaps socio-economic) crisis, many economic experts and pundits are in a frenzy offering grand, complicated solutions to the problem. It is really not that complicated. People have lost faith. Not just in institutions and markets as most experts suggest. But long before that people stop believing their dreams and aspirations would come to pass. As a result, individuals wait and hope for institutions to resolve society’s problems. Since institutions implement institutional solutions, we never get to the heart of the matter, individual faith.
Hope makes you wait. While faith makes you actively pursue. It is a person’s faith that makes them take steps toward their dreams. As people’s faith in something bigger, more powerful than themselves increases, we will draw closer to the dream of creating a nation where all people have the opportunities needed to succeed and thrive. More importantly, they no longer wait on institutions, but actively work to transform their internal faith into external realities. It is this Faith Stimulus, not just an economic stimulus, which will once again put our nation back on track toward the American Dream.
Who else better to lead this faith stimulus than the Faith Community. As the cornerstone of neighborhoods and local communities, Christian churches and organizations can direct the crusade of restoring hope to American citizens. America is not a nation of independent institutions but a society of diverse yet inextricably linked individuals. The fortitude of businesses and organizations is directly linked to the spiritual development of individuals. Restoring their faith and creating opportunities to maintain good works will stimulate community revitalization. By expending its spiritual capital, the Faith Community can rekindle the flames of faith ignited by the Declaration of Independence and produce an invaluable Faith Stimulus Package.
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