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Dr Storkey’s lament over self-confidence

by
01 September 2010

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From the Revd William Morris

Sir, — It was with an increasing sense of despair that I read Dr Alan Storkey’s article (Comment, 27 August). It’s hard to know where to start, but to say that banking is nothing more than moving money from one account to another is wilfully simplistic.

Just one example: the modern banking system facilitates risk-spreading through interest-rate and currency swaps. This has significantly expanded cross-border trade over the past 25 years, generally to the benefit of us all. Yes, there were excesses in the banking system in recent years, but regulators (and those despised politicians) are now creating a more sensible regulatory regime.

And then what of self-confidence? Would Dr Storkey prefer to return to the days when children with dyslexia were stupid and those with dyspraxia were clumsy? Or when people of colour were told they were of inferior ability? Yes, the self-confidence/self-esteem industry has oversold itself, but there is still much essential good — and something godly — in helping people to reach their full potential.

But the truly depressing thing was what this says to an outsider (or, I suppose, an insider) about Christianity’s view of the world of work. Greedy, incompetent bankers protected only by their secretaries. Lying politicians. Egotistical media types. It’s easy to sneer, but is this how we should reach out to the world of work, which is part of God’s creation? Is this how we talk about the love of God to the millions who work in offices, factories, and, yes, banks, politics, and the media?

Only one thing is clear to me. If all we have to tell them is, vapidly, that they should “say goodbye to self-confidence, and seek the mercy and grace of God”, then we deserve to have empty churches and no voice in the public square.

WILL MORRIS
St Martin-in-the-Fields
6 St Martin’s Place
London WC2N 4JH

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