• June 3rd, 2020

We live in extraordinary times

Rev. Jan A Scholtz

What an extraordinary time we live in. I was listening to the radio on my way to work when I heard a commentary on the movies that were made during the ‘Great Depression’ period. 

There are a lot of people who are comparing this present time and the global economic downturn with the Great Depression. Financial markets seem to be hitting new lows. According to Bank of Namibia ‘if Namibia was to encounter a slow demand for minerals from their trading partners such as China or France, then the country’s projected growth will be at risk, especially for the primary industry’’.

The Bank of Namibia said in their economic outlook report for December 2018, that despite economic challenges, they are expecting the economy to recover to a positive growth rate of 1,5 percent in 2019 from a contraction of 0,2 percent in 2018. Therefore, the nation at large is not immune to these economical changes.

In his New Year message, President Hage Geingob stated that “Given the economic shortfall, we endeavored to work more efficiently and effectively with limited resources. We reduced wastage in the public sector”. He further commented that despite the volatility of the economy, we have to widen our approach and thinking going forward.
So what about that statement I just made? How can I say that we live in extraordinary times? Doesn’t that usually imply that something good, or at least amazing, is happening? 

The radio commentator was observing that the movies made during the Great Depression were almost universally hopeful and morally uplifting. It reminded me of what we as Namibians have always known: As Christians, it doesn’t matter whether we live in good or bad times. In fact it seems to be exactly when the economy is taking time to get out of the woods that we still rise to the ocassion!

So practically speaking, what can we do? We are worried about assisting because we don’t know how to plan for the future of our families and society at large. 

But we have the opportunity to begin checking in with each other and with our neighbours to find out who is worried about losing their jobs. That opens the door for us to create support groups for those who have lost their jobs and those who are just afraid they might lose their jobs. 

We have the opportunity to discretely inquire how our retirees are doing, to find out especially whether those who are in failing pension plans have enough for food and rent. That opens the door for us to emulate and compliment the work by Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare and soup kitchens by beginning to serve a free meal once or twice a week - maybe even sending leftovers home for those in need.

In addition, we have the opportunity to find out about our young people are on social welfare and their potential income sources if they can’t afford high-end concerts. 

That opens the platform for us to literally open the doors for our institutions and churches to invite the young people to come together informally under adult supervision to share constructive ideas, friendship and perhaps they can use their shared talents.

Maybe this all sounds overly simplistic! I would maintain that this is what the church has done, and done well since the days of Peter and Paul. In Acts 1-10 it is stated that it is still possible for us today to share food, and care for one another, and to care for the widows, orphans and strangers.

Oh yes, we live in an extraordinary times. There is no question about that. The only question is how we will respond. Will we do what as Namibian Christians are called on to do? If we do, I guarantee that we will not have to worry about getting out of the woods.

* Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of a BA (HED) from the University of South Africa (Unisa). He writes in his private capacity.

New Era Reporter
2019-01-23 09:31:00 | 1 years ago

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