Tough Times in Europe
But there's a bigger crisis looming over all of this continent. Many Europeans are wrestling with the increasing economic divide between the developed and developing countries. The vast $$ distance between the two, coupled with increasing instability in many parts of the middle-east is creating an immigration crisis here that is perhaps larger and more volatile than our own. I say more volatile because most of the developing countries, wrestling with poverty and high unemployment, also have strong Islamic ties of some sort. Thus the swing to the right in Europe is seen by some as religious bigotry rather than just a matter of economics, further fueling the already tense relationships between Europeans natives and Muslim immigrants. And it's creating huge tensions, both within and among the various European countries. Union hardly seems an accurate word right now.
What kind of hopeful solution is there to immigration problems if the fundamental problems of economic inequities remain unmet? And with the divergent agendas of G8 leaders, multi-national corporations, and the often corrupt leaders of developing nations, no plan has yet been cast that will bring the needed changes to all three of these parties. And all three, like legs of a stool, need to change their vision at very fundmental levels if they’re to work together for the economic good of all.
I’ve traveled over here many times, but never has it seemed this bleak. It’s as if almost every person with whom I speak sees dark clouds of change gathering on the horizon and yet feels powerless to do anything about it. Perhaps they’re right. And though they sense they can’t stop the impending storm, they are determined to build shelters of hope, large enough for all who are looking for a different kingdom than the warring kingdoms of this world. Such is the heart of many of these Christians I meet in
These are good words and vital for each of us. Find a calling – step into it. Find a need – meet it. Someone once said that all that is needed for evil to reign is for good men to do nothing. If we close our eyes to the evils around us, and withdraw into our small worlds of self-interest and consumption, we become, by our passivity, part of the problem. Though I’m discouraged by the news on the European front, I’m heartened by the faithful who are seeking to embody hope in the midst of dark days. O Come – Emmanuel.