Praying for the Great Crunch

It has been noticed that the capitalist crisis (are we actually printing money now?) has brought a volley of bullshit from various clerics along the lines of ‘see what you get when you worship Mammon instead of God’ and ‘we should have kicked the usurers and the moneylenders out of the temple a long time ago’.

Bishops have been taking the moral high ground over the government’s bailout of the bankers. But let’s not forget that, as monstrous as the bailout was, the church has nothing to offer the poor: it sees poverty as virtuous so the more poverty there is the better.

As Brett Lock puts it:

This is the problem with a crisis of any sort. All manner of snake-oil salesmen, carpetbaggers and utopian dreamers come to town with ridiculous spiritual and ideological ’solutions’ and admonishments – and of course a good deal of pointing fingers at witches.

Now the C of E has come up with some advice for people affected by the Great Crunch.

For those feeling anxious about the amount of debt they are in, common sense advice and helpful Bible quotations are included in the section ‘Are you struggling with debt?’ along with useful resources – such as an easy-to-use interactive spreadsheet for planning a household budget.

Realising that money problems are a source of stress, specially written prayers are available online, composed by our National Worship Development Officer.

As part of this ‘pastoral initiative’, the Church of England has published two new prayers. From the ‘Prayer on being made redundant’:

‘Redundant’ – the word says it all –



             without purpose,

                    surplus to requirements.’

I’m almost missing Pinter.

There is also a ‘Prayer for those remaining in the workplace’:

Life has changed:

     colleagues have gone – redundant, out of work.

Suddenly, what seemed so secure is now so very fragile.


It’s hard to know what I feel:

     sadness, certainly,

     guilt, almost, at still having a job to go to,

     and fear of the future:

          who will be next?

          how will I cope with the increased pressure of work?

Lord, I beseech thee: will I still get a four o’clock finish on Fridays?

You can also print out ‘Prayers for those wishing to work out a household budget’. The ‘Prayer for market liquidity’ and ‘Prayer for a 10,500 Dow Jones at year end’ are presumably still being worked on.

Carol Rumens is not impressed either.

Prayer for the Current Financial Situation utters banalities we hear on the news every morning: ‘… across the world,/ prices rise,/ debts increase,/ banks collapse,/ jobs are taken away/ and fragile security is under threat.’ Yawn, pass the coffee. These generalisations don’t begin to evoke or lament real human sufferings: they are nothing more than little flesh-coloured strips of journalistic Elastoplast.

The prayers we involuntarily utter in times of crisis are not, and can’t be, beautifully worded: they rip their way out of us, often against our rational impulses, and they are starkly simple. Prayers presented as text, to be read and mulled over, and uttered ceremoniously in places of worship, are a different matter. They should surely be as well wrought, musical, thoughtful and resonant as poems. They should embody the sense that language is sacred.

A good point – you do end up longing for that old-time religion. At least the Lord’s Prayer is beautifully written.

All the same – to paraphrase Irvine Welsh – I think I’ll stick to books and bevvy to get me through the long dark night of late capitalism.



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