Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Is Fair?

Unfortunately, Ryan is dealing with a death in the family this week and is unable to blog today. We'll have to wait until October for the follow-up to his last post, Welcome to Nuni De Community. Ryan, our prayers are with your family this week.

In the meantime, I'm borrowing from my own blog:

The lectionary last Sunday was the parable about the field laborers who were paid the same whether they worked all day or just the last hour.

All the talk about how "It's not fair! I scrimped to pay my mortgage and he lived large, but now the government is bailing him out!" reminds me of that parable.

If we focus a little more narrowly, more on ourselves and less on our neighbors, it looks like this:

I took on a mortgage. I pay it. I'm getting exactly what I signed up for. That's fair.

If we compare ourselves to others, that will never look fair. And it also doesn't help solve anything.

Let me be clear: there are terrible and unfair things happening to people right now in this economic crisis. There are plenty of people who took on mortgages that they could afford, and pay them on time, who are still hurting, and maybe are no longer able to pay what they could a few months ago, or their taxes have raised their payments exponentially. Talking about those problems is different from looking across the hedge and comparing one's own lot to that of one's neighbor.

That ways lies unhappiness. We're in a crisis. I look forward to listening to the various measures our elected leaders and their appointed advisers suggest we take to handle it. I hope that we get out of the mess soon, and trust that we'll manage it without allowing the chaos to spread into the credit sector and cause more of us to lose our own jobs, homes.

Matthew 20:14
Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?

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