Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stocks and shares and the Golden Calf

As £2.7trillion is wiped off the value of global shares, stock markets all over the world have been caught in a confused frenzy of panic selling, and finance ministers have been sticking their fingers in the dykes shoring up the financial meltdown, hoping against hope that each political pronouncement, each billion assured, each bank nationalised will be sufficient to bring the world back from the brink of financial Armageddon.

Yet still the panic continues, still the stock markets suffer record-breaking falls, still the finance ministers and central bank governors scratch their heads to cobble together yet another initiative to avert financial cataclysm.

And millions of helpless people are left to wander aimlessly in a valley of darkness and insecurity, because they followed their leaders without discernment; they trusted their teachings and respected their learning; they affirmed their experience and submitted to their authority.

Yet all the time those leaders were leading the people astray, for they were placating them with falsehood and lies, leading them to the false god of riches and avarice. They fixed their eyes on the Gold Calf, in worship, love and adoration. And the people mistook this idol for the God of their forefathers, for it brought happiness, material wealth, security, and the people had never had it so good.

But all good things must come to an end, especially those good things which were not actually good, but merely seemed so.

In rabbinical theology, the worship of the golden calf is second only to the fall of man as the sin fraught with the direst consequences: ‘There is not a misfortune that Israel has suffered which is not partly a retribution for the sin of the calf’ (Sanh. 102a).

There is nothing new under the sun.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon” (Mt 6:19-21, 24).


Blogger Tomrat said...

Your Grace,

I've said it before and I'll say it again; this is not a failure of the free market system, nor is it a (complete) failure of capitalism - for both to fail you would first need those 2 systems to exist, which they most certainly do not.

This is, in fact, a failure of corporatism - in an attempt to absolve ourselves of responsibility for our actions from the eyes of God we have created institutions and given them lives of their own (a corporation as a legal entitity has all the rights of a human being; criminal action taken on behalf of investigators into crimes committed by its employees have a tendency to hit the quagmire quasi-legal issue of charging the entity itself rather than its employees; this is know as "limited liability" and is part responsible for the current crisis - if you aren't completely responsible (whether as a team or an individual) for the smooth running, productivity and above-board actions of your company then why would you care when things go horribly wrong?

Applying this to your biblical precedent was it the gold the calf itself was made off that lef the Israelites to sin? I would content no; that gold could (and was) used for more noble gains in later history; it built the temples fineries and paid for armies and for the Israelites to flourish as a nation again.

No, the sin itself was to skew what God had intended for its use; they built a god of it, when they should've built an alter in honour of their God (as they did), whom led them out of captivity, and has been faithful despite such strong opposition.

We have similarly built that calf out of corporatism; and likewise we see God tearing it down.

Its amazing how the bible seems to be all things; at once a historical document, an allegorical cautionary tale and a prophetic tome. Thank you Lord for it, and the mercies you show me via it daily. Amen.

11 October 2008 at 11:05  
Anonymous len said...

I believe a few sacred cows are about to be exposed, gold or otherwise!.
I believe Jahweh is exposing the corruption in our monetary , political, and religious systems.

11 October 2008 at 11:22  
OpenID curly15 said...

The "age of irresponsibility" refuses to end.

When will governments accept that a boom built on debt was sure to end as the chickens come home to roost.

Yet they run around like headless chickens attempting to extend even greater lengths of credit, without accepting the need for austerity and the balancing of budgets which are in great deficit.

11 October 2008 at 11:22  
Blogger Menelaus said...

Strangely enough, if money was still backed by gold, we would not be in this mess. The problem lies with the false, paper money and paper instruments backed by little or nothing that is real. All of this worthless paper must be burnt. When it has been we will be back to the real value that remains.

The scoundrels witter about capital ratios for banks. How about a capital ratio nearer to 1 than zero?

11 October 2008 at 12:05  
Blogger Damo Mackerel said...

Yes, I've heard that a lot of people are now beginnning to invest in gold. Is this the end of paper money I wonder?

11 October 2008 at 12:22  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"Strangely enough, if money was still backed by gold, we would not be in this mess. The problem lies with the false, paper money and paper instruments backed by little or nothing that is real. All of this worthless paper must be burnt. When it has been we will be back to the real value that remains. "

Ohhh yeah, that's it right there. The post-modern hyper real economy of Monopoly money is going to come to an end.

Meanwhile, Dr North has found evidence that the EU has been planning this for some time. The EU, by the end of this crisis, may stand to control the nationalised credit of EU countries, which makes it extremely powerful and dangerous: i.e. to the point where not even the masses revolting in the streets like the Poll-Tax saga could dislodge the EU because the EU will simply cut the credit supply off to wayward countries. The EU would have the power to literally starve us into submission.

11 October 2008 at 15:35  
Anonymous judith said...

May I suggest that a significant reason for the current bust, and indeed other economic bubbles in the past, is the 'herd mentality'.

Many people knew what was happening in the areas of foolish credit offering was stupid, but I suggest they did not wish to look stupid by calling out that the Emperor wore no clothes.

You can see this herd mentality occurring in many fields - politics to my certain knowledge. Party activists know that an Officer or Councillor is a bully, or a criminal, or simply totally inept, but they dare not speak out, because everyone else seems to accept it.

Dare I also suggest it happens in religions too?

11 October 2008 at 16:08  
Anonymous tomorrow belongs to mo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11 October 2008 at 17:20  
Anonymous len said...

The simple relationship people had with Jesus Christ was hilacked by unscrupulous men and used for their own gain, for power, wealth and ambition.
This I believe is mainly the current position of the christian religion.
We need to get back to the basic unadultarated Gospel of Jesus Christ!.
The West is currently obsessed with material wealth and posessions, to the neglect of the spiritual realities of life.

11 October 2008 at 17:37  
Anonymous ever and anon said...

Judith -

Love the strand you've provided on 'leaders' - cf Holofernes, of course!

So here's following it a little, because I'm still wondering why even intelligent people follow evil bastards. They say, "He's our leader, we have to support him."

My analysis of their reaction so far: --- Naysayers who cannot respect 'evil bastard' leaders must understand that the reason for respecting them is their evil bastardy!

I suppose the reality is that bastards collapse careers, families, mortgages, etc. about the ears of 'transgressors' (naysayers). Blackmail, that is. And it succeeds by means of: various forms of intimidation, reward systems, whisper campaigns, surveillance, and cults of hedonism. Thus 'disciples' (favourites) work in 'teams' (gangs) to 'trash' (terminate) the occasional exemplary 'transgressor'!

Other intelligent, decent, people follow because they don't want to lead while an evil bastard's in the pack: and I suppose that must work as above.

Another factor may be the network of evil bastards to which any given evil bastard belongs - for their name is 'Legion.' Need I look further for an example than our neighbour: the mighty, the glorious, the brilliant, the ideal, the enforcer that converts claptrap socio-economic theory into fodder for the idiot masses? The euSSR.

If my perception is on the right track, Judith, we need, speaking metaphorically, a decapitation: and now I'm finally beginning to understand why your namesake was a heroine!

Once the head is safely in the basket, we'll be able display it for all to see that Marxist leaders follow false gods. And that, above all, hiding within the Golden Calf of their Theory, is the god of evil bastardy - the seed of everyone's destruction.

That seems pretty consistent with what you and His Grace say... :)

11 October 2008 at 19:47  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Herd mentality really does 'P' me off. I have always been a rebellious swine even as a kid, but I cannot subscribe to things simply because everyone else does, not without a convincing explanation which shows there has been some kind of thought gone into it.
My hope is that now the whole world knows we are fucked, "really fucked", we can drop this dhimmitude game and change gear and get back in the race. It's time for the tough to get going now the going is getting tough.
We are all reading about this politically correct bullshit in the papers every day and it can't just be me who is flabbergasted by the whole state of affairs.
In the Daily Post last week there was numerous reports of people being followed into cafes and arrested for flicking dog ends in the street; a man arrested for smoking in his own van by a dog warden? A taxi driver reported for smoking by a dog warden? etc etc etc....
Where I work all employees are having to undertake a racism test? What the hell exactly this entails I do not know yet as I have yet to experience it, but I have been told that it entails anon screen multiple choice question and answer session. The thing is I hate Manchester United supporters, if you get my drift. It now seems the thought police really do exist, and we now have to declare what it is that we think. My problem is that I hate Islam so much that I will lose my job before I swallow any nonsense about singing its praises.
But like I said, everyone knows we are bolloxed, even the Arabs, and its now a case of I know that you know that I know that you know, so now the cat is well and truly out of the bag, can we please please drop the pretense and get back to being who we are. The herd will follow, like it always does..moo moo, bah bah!!!!
We all come here because we like to hear what the Cranmers have to say, moaning and groaning I call it. Ok so there is a need for diplomacy, but ask any sheep farmer, the best way to move sheep is with a dog, woof woof woof woof.


11 October 2008 at 21:24  
Blogger Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
Perhaps I have misunderstood your post. The comments here seem to have entirely missed your point: that money is not something we should seek. That it is in God where we can find satisfaction and inner-peace, not in materialism. Values, morality and decency should be our goals, when too often it is a brand new car.

You are, as ever, filled with infinite wisdom.

11 October 2008 at 21:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, all you say is very true, but not all of us who are losing out now in the present economic climate, are suffering because of avarice. I am a full time mother who wants to be at home for her children, and has sacrificed an income for many years to do so. Now because of the economic circumstances I will have to go out to work and my children will suffer for it. But I should not complain as I am only too aware that for many others on this planet, the fall out from this global economic catastrophe is far worse, and may be a matter of life or death. Sure it helps to focus on faith and the fact that salvation is not to be found in material things. But even missionaries recognise that you cannot preach to hungry people, and Jesus himself taught his disciples to care for people's physical needs as well as their spiritual ones.

11 October 2008 at 23:54  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

Yes it is easy to be lead astray in our world for there is no true alternative voice. Where are the magazines, TV shows and movies that provide an alternative view. Sadly the current situation lacks a strong force opposed to the corporate mentality. The COE and RCC do not offer a competing capitalist model. Both organizations but maximum return ahead of any other consideration. Where are the business men who are proud of their religious affiliation. Sadly there are very few. Instead we are given the Whores of Omaha and Seattle. Who seek to get rich off the mistakes of others or crush their competition.

12 October 2008 at 04:14  

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