It used to be a particular brand of Christianity that preached a hopeless message of fire and brimstone, despair and destruction but now that role has been userped by a new tribe of prophets who call themselves the ‘Economists’. Just as fast as our financial future evaporates it seems their prominence increases. These high priests of doom and gloom are multiplying at an alarming rate and are increasingly monopolizing our airwaves. They have already acquired huge swathes of the broadcast schedule, having taken up permanent residence on the Vincent Browne show and Prime Time, to name but two shows where their egos are massaged and their bellies tickled on a reglar basis. Their common theme is that we are completly banjaxed and the only thing that sets them apart is the likely length of our time in the Purgatory of Austerity.
I am sure I am not the only one who is getting weary of this chorus of catastrophe they sing with such glee and enthusiasm. I was more inclined to listen and take heed when they were lonely voices often barely heard above the roar of the Celtic Tiger. Then you could count their number on the fingers of one hand and like the propets of old there was something compelling about the lone voice that was prepared to challenge the status quo.
Prophesy is by its very nature a minority sport. Prophets were never meant to be popular or share the celebrity status that so many of the ‘Economists’ do today. In their multiplication and transition from the fringes the Economists have become not so much prophets as propagandists. They no longer ask questions as true prophets do. They do not question the truth as they see it but preach it with increasing passion and an almost sado masochistic pleasure.
If we were to base our lives on their message then our future would be on indefinite hold – there would be no tomorrow and even our children and perhaps our children’s children would face a bleak and hopeless future! There is no denying that we are in a difficult place but we know that now and we don’t need it repeated daily like a mantra which grinds us deeper into despair! We need to hear a new prophesy – we need to hear of a future that is not determined by our present – of a hope that is not destroyed by the failures of the past. Otherwise the message of the Economists will become a self fulfilling prophesy.
Thankfully not everyone has fallen under the spell of the Economists – There are still people who believe that there will be a tomorrow and that the Sun will rise again. The most tangeable sign I see of this is the baby boom we are witnessing in Ireland at this time, and a trend that is the opposite of the rest of Europe. This very day I will visit three families for baptism preparation and in the past year I have baptised almost more babies than in the previous 3 years. What greater affirmation of the future can there be than to bring a baby into the world?
Those of us who call ourselves Christian bear witness to the transformative power of the birth of a very special baby into human history - Could it be that the current baby boom is a harbinger of a transformation of our future? Could it be that Ireland instead of being an example of economic ruin could become a beacon of hope for the rest of Europe? I wonder....