A way out of debt's grip

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Who among us ordinary folk really wants to carry more debt? Most of us would rather steer our personal financial ship somewhere closer to calmer debt-free waters.

But some hedge-fund managers, banks, and other financial market players have been doing just the opposite. Or, they were doing so before the recent credit crunch. In the years following the dotcom boom (and bust in 2001), financial institutions took on increasingly risky debt, in the form of securities backed by loans made to high-risk home-buying borrowers. This debt-based strategy initially delivered financial gains, as investors in the United States and around the world profited from Americans' propensity to borrow, buy, and consume.

OK, let's say you've never been into speculative debt-based investing. Instead, you're just glad to be able to pay the rent or make your mortgage payments. Despite your own challenges with debt, your heart goes out to those individuals and families who've taken on larger mortgages than they can manage – sometimes without knowing the consequences — as well as those who can't meet the new, tightened credit qualifications.

What more can be done, beyond adding our individual protests to the chorus of those already seeking a way out of debt, or looking for a better home? Moreover, what would help global financial systems and institutional investors move toward a more balanced, less volatile credit marketplace?

Both personal and system-wide challenges call for systematic spiritual aid – for a restorative healing method. That's what Christian Science brings to the table. Prayer logically begins at our own kitchen tables, by addressing our own financial concerns – not by asking God for more money or things but rather for more insight into His always-giving nature. And into the sometimes hidden spiritual wealth that each of us possesses. Such asking can, in the prophet Malachi's words, "open [to] you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing" in the form of fresh ideas, improved motives, inspired solutions. And prayer's beneficial effects also can ripple outward to include the whole human family, when our asking and seeking are based on universal laws, and specifically on God's laws of circulation and purification.

Financial systems are at base mental systems. They're bodies of collective thought that reflect the aims, desires, and hopes, as well as the cravings and fears, of all participants within an economy, local or global. Just as the human body actually mirrors an individual's mental state, the body financial expresses the public's mental chemistry. And prayerful reasoning that's based on understanding God's beneficent control of creation – on a wholly good and divine Principle that produces only good effects and overrules base motives and fears – has a purifying and harmonizing effect throughout the system.

In the spiritual universe, the movement of worthy and worth-bestowing ideas constitutes circulation. The divine Mind that supplies inspired ideas also maintains the pure and incorruptible flow of good, useful thoughts. And because God is universal Love, divine giving never favors one at another's expense. As Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her definitive textbook on metaphysical healing: "The Christian Scientist, understanding scientifically that all is Mind, commences with mental causation, the truth of being, to destroy the error. This corrective is an alterative, reaching to every part of the human system. According to Scripture, it searches 'the joints and marrow,' and it restores the harmony of man" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 423).

For the family facing debt stress, and for financial systems suffering a credit crunch, there's a way to healthy footing. God's harmony – the truth of your being, of our shared well-being – is intact, discoverable, provable.

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