Social Upheaval

November 2010

Dear Friends,

     By the time you read this things may have calmed down in France. Prime Minister François Fillon has resigned. And for weeks the country has been afflicted with nearly paralyzing strikes, and violent demonstrations. The immediate issue is raising the retirement age for state employees from 60 to 62, and the age for receiving full pensions from 65 to 67. For many onlookers this does not appear to be so controversial. Is there another side?

     What worries young people is that they often cannot find permanent jobs until they are I their late 20s, because of the massive unemployment in France. Being required to work 40 years before benefitting from pension funds, this could mean people might have to work into their 70s. Furthermore, the world population is aging. In itself that is geed news, but the graying of humanity will present unique challenges to supporting the elderly. Unless something changes, fewer and fewer (the young) will be supporting more and more people (the aging).

     In order to resolve this issue, and many others related to it, it won’t be enough just to crunch numbers, raise taxes, juggle with retirement age, and the like. And certainly violence will not help. France and Europe, and indeed much of the planet, will need to do some soul-searching on matters relating to life itself. The care of the elderly has highest priority in biblical ethics. The Reformed Seminary in Aix, now named Faculté Jean Calvin, has a strong emphasis on Christian ethics, particularly under the leadership of Professor Michel Johner. Please join us in praying for the Seminary and leaders like Michel. As we draw closer to Christmas, do remember them in your giving as well. We would dearly love to complete the Boice Chair. And, thank you very much for your faithful support over the years.

Very Truly Yours,

William Edgar, President