It's been a whipsaw week for the stock market, and not just Wall Street. The European Union has been buffeted for months with disaster in Ireland and Greece, Italy and Spain apparently teetering on the brink of financial ruin at any moment. Financial markets in South Korea saw their worst day in years; ditto for Turkey.
All in all it's not a time for the faint of heart to read the financial news.
I am not wandering into the thickets of international finance or the national economy. I would be glad to make a deal with economists, government officials and would-be presidential candidates: I'll resist making simplistic forecasts and fixes for your issues if they'll do the same and quit propping up their ideas and aspirations with simplistic verses cherry picked from here and there in the scriptures.
A funny thing happened to me this week involving the headlines of the Wall Street Journal. I read the Journal through a rather unusual arrangement. A church member who is a subscriber gives me her daily paper one day late. She reads it each day, puts it back in its plastic bag, and places it in a corner of his front porch, where I retrieve it the next morning as I cycle past her house. I read the news one day late.
Earlier this week when I picked up the one-day-old paper, I also glanced at the headlines of the current paper, which she had not yet taken inside the house. The one-day-old paper announced gloom and doom on Wall Street (600 point drop), while the current paper's headlines announced new life on Wall Street (400 point gain).
It made it a lot easier to read the depressing story, knowing that the market rose dramatically one day later.
I offer no financial advice today. I am in the dark on what moves the stock market just as much as the rest of you. Even the wisest financial adviser couches his/her advice with the words, "Of course, nobody knows ..."
But here is what the person of faith knows: The daily headlines cannot crush us, no matter how gloomy or desperate they may seem. Those who stand squarely on the foundation of the Judeo-Christian heritage understand that the purposes of God cannot be thwarted by economic or political systems, no matter how dire things seem and if we allow ourselves to be filled with trepidation based on the daily, dramatic adjectives and nouns chosen by a nameless headline writer, then we are not living according to our faith.
The experience of holding those two newspapers side by side reminded me that one day's headline sometimes cancels out the opposite headline of one day previous. I tucked the day-old newspaper with its discouraging charts and graphs under my arm, climbed back on my bicycle and continued my daily route.
Before I realized it I was whistling.
Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.