Our generation has been dominated by faceless lending. Our recent economic crisis was spurred on by the increasing layers of abstraction that are introduced between borrower and investor. Abstraction of borrower and lender has been an attempt to protect both, but has the really been the outcome? Can we look at the signs of the times and read for ourselves that the more abstract that the borrowing process becomes, the more malicious and pain-filled it will become.
A lesson I have been learning over and over again over the past five years is that Jesus came to set people right with himself and one another. Not only does Jesus make it possible for us to have relationship with God, but also proper relationship with one another. Another way of saying this is Jesus puts us face to face with our God and with our brother
1 John 1:1-4
1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
So often what I have seen in the church is not the kingdom lifestyle of face-to-face living but the embracing and encouraging of worldly abstractions that separate and insulate. Why is this? Chris has set us free from the fear of being wronged (hasn’t he)? And yet we mitigate risk and loose valuable kingdom investment by continuing to run to the worlds financial system.
For years I have been meditating on such things. (See this document I produced five years ago). And recently my Gracious Father has been allowing me to taste some of the concepts that I have so long thought about. In order to purchase a house, a friend lent me a large sum of money as a bridge loan. Lord willing, I will soon have the opportunity to do the same for another friend. Here are a few of the goods that I have experienced in personal, face-to-face lending:
- Sober Spending – Part of the credit culture that we live in is a disconnect between desires and the consequences of that spending. Face to face lending puts a real face on spending in a number of ways.
- 1. It ensures that my purchases are inline with the values of my community. It discourages lending for the purposes of getting an advantage or “moving up”. My friend was more than wiling to lend me money when I was basically buying a house of equal value and size. If I was trying to elevate my social standing by buying something with far more comforts than my friend possessed I doubt he would readily lend me the money.
- 2. Because I am returning payment to a person and not an institution, my repayment of the loan has a direct impact on his life. While borrowing I was tempted to buy one of the latest gadgets on the market, but knowing that I had a debt to a friend, and that buying this item meant slower repayment to him helped to keep the “gots to have its” in check.
- Preaching the Kingdom of God – Loaning to one another preaches the veracity and reality of the Kingdom that God himself governs. Let’s face it.. why are people in the church afraid to lend to one another? Fear. The Kingdom that God rules is run by Love. Love cast out Fear. Personal lending preaches the reality that God can manage his Kingdom and help his children come to terms when when there is a disagreement or problem. Institutions and prophylactic structures make sense where love is NOT the governing rule, but do they make sense where it is?
There is really so much more.. but I’ll leave it there and with a Scripture that I read just this evening.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
[ Leave a Comment ]