Vantage Point

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Starting with this issue of Vertical Thought we've decided to call the personal letter from the editor on this page "Vantage Point." The name ties in with the vertical thinking (about God) we promote and conveys what I like to share within this space—an overall perspective on one or more of the major themes of the current issue.

Now that you understand the name, let me share a few thoughts with you about the issue you are now viewing.

As we began planning the articles, two major issues seemed to stand out in the news and weighed heavily on the minds of our staff. First, there was the foreboding sense of pessimism that seems to be affecting much of the world due to the present worldwide financial crisis.

The downturn in the global economy is having a negative effect on many. Your grandparents and parents may be angry that their retirement savings have lost approximately half of their value. Some have lost almost all of their wealth and also their jobs. Many are worried about how they'll survive. And the discouragement continues, as no one knows how long it will be before the economy recovers.

Young people are also hit by the financial devastation. Some have to choose less expensive schools at which to continue their educations. Some have to borrow more money for school, and others simply won't be able to go to college at all.

In addition to the financial troubles, our world is also plagued with diplomatic tensions, corrupt governments and heartless terrorism. There are plenty of reasons to be down.

In the face of these sad realities, how can we be positive? In our lead article "The World's a Mess: Can You Be Positive?" we provide three important reasons why Christians can and should be positive about the future.

The second issue our staff felt compelled to address was honesty. A national survey released last December by the Josephson Institute for Ethics indicated that cheating was on the rise in U.S. high schools. A staggering 64 percent of the 30,000 students who participated in the survey admitted they had cheated on a test during the last year. Reports indicate that problems with student cheating also exist in countries outside the United States.

Cheating is no longer an isolated incident involving only a few people. It's now become the norm. Some think that young people are simply following the example of their elders who also cheat in business, on their taxes and in their relationships.

What many are beginning to realize is that there is an obvious connection between cheating and our current economic crisis. The former led to the latter. In these troubled times, vertical thinkers have a great opportunity to let their positive outlooks and honest conduct shine. VT