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American Christians Need A Recession

July 29, 2008

Where are prayers being answered?

Darfur? Nope. Iraq? Nada. Africa? Not a chance. South America? Back of the line. Middle East? No way. Afghanistan? Too Muslim.

War, cancer, and millions of people starving to death around the world and what God does–obviously, other than ignore these problems–is lower gas prices…

American Christians NEED a recession.

So much North American religion I encounter is an idolatrous conflation of materialism, entitlement, ethnocentrism, and nationalism that most likely what many American Christians really need is a recession. If you make $50,000 US per year you are in the top 1% of income earners worldwide! If you earn $25,000 US you will be in the top %10. Yes, your living conditions will not be the same as Bill Gates, but you will have living conditions which is more than the millions of men, women, and children that will starve to death around the world this year (and yes the estimated numbers are in the millions). If you were to take the same dollar amounts and compare them historically the modern American would go to even better percentages. They are ridiculously blessed; but what God is really concerned about is how much they pay for fuel…

American Christians NEED a recession.

The worst part about the greed, relative poverty, and materialism that can characterize the American way of life that some have syncrestically melded into their cultural Christianity is that it leaves absolutely no room for real gratefulness. Life is a blessing. Health is a blessing. Being able to put food on your table–in any form–and not have to watch your children starve to death in front of your eyes is a blessing. If, however, you are worried about keeping up with the Joneses, some form of ‘economic normality’ by a grossly opulent American scale, and being able to afford to put fuel in a gas guzzling over-sized SUV that never has been, and never will be off-road it will be very difficult to be grateful for the wonderful blessings you have been given by merely being born in the Northern part of the world.

The idolatrous god of materialism is not God. Having a big house and cheap gas is not God. Having more money than 99% of the world stockpiled while many of those lower than you starve to death is not God. Being American is not living in God’s special nation. Having a heart that is saddened by what it does not have leaves very little margins for thankfulness for the amazing blessings it does have…

American Christians NEED a recession.

If you need me I’ll be reading Amos this afternoon.

Prayer services to be held at St. Louis gas stations to thank God for lower prices

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS – Two prayer services will be held at St. Louis gas stations to thank God for lower fuel prices and to ask that they continue to drop. Darrell Alexander, Midwest co-chair of the Pray at the Pump movement, says prayer gatherings will be held Monday afternoon and evening at a Mobil station west of downtown St. Louis.

Participants say they plan to buy gas, pray and then sing “We Shall Overcome” with a new verse, “We’ll have lower gas prices.”

An activist from the Washington D.C. area, Rocky Twyman, started the effort, saying if politicians couldn’t lower gas prices, it was time to ask God to intervene.

The group thinks the prayer is helping, saying prices are starting to fall below $4 a gallon.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. lmajeed permalink
    July 29, 2008 10:30 am

    The answering of prayers may not be seen on a global level, but prayers are answered, that is for sure. Whether they are prayers by children, troubled people, helpless people- prayers are made and answered. It is just patience that leads us to see the day when they are answered.
    Well, apart from patience it’s also belief. However strong your belief may be. I agree with you when you say that life is a blessing. It definitely is- people just overlook the beauty of life, partially because their problems overshadow it. It’s a blessing we ought to be thankful for.

  2. July 29, 2008 10:54 am

    Well said. Can you just see the picture of a petulant spoiled child stamping her feet demanding more ice cream.

  3. July 29, 2008 11:46 am

    Great post. I think material blessing is a spiritual curse. People always talk about how blessed we are in this country. We should be thankful for the things we have, but when people say “blessed” they’re usually thinking material wealth.

    I know a guy who roasts coffee for a missionary to this country from Kenya who owns a coffee shop. She [the missionary] says that when Americans go to Africa they pray that they won’t get diseases, they will be safe etc. But many of the Africans come to this country they pray that they won’t get caught in materialism. This is something they see is a grave danger and when they get here they have to really fight it. We are in it and don’t even realize it.
    Jeff

  4. July 29, 2008 12:59 pm

    Funny thing about an SUV, it can typically be insured for less than a smaller car. I just found out my Suzuki Forenza makes the top ten most expensive cars to insure – my brother has a Ford Explorer and gets better insurance than I do. Why? Because my Suzuki (even though I can get from the Grand Canyon to well within a few mile from my brothers house in Newport Beach CA on a tank of gas) is considered a sports car (small and fast – though not really that fast – but young punks going fast in and out of traffic don’t help either, people are tired of heavy traffic) AND it is on the top ten list for worst cars by Consumer Reports.

    Maybe I need to run out and get a Ford Explorer?

  5. July 29, 2008 1:26 pm

    Hear, hear! British Christians need a recession as well. At least many of them do. The problem is that the relatively rich always manage to manage recessions such that the ones who really suffer are the relatively poor.

  6. Isle permalink
    July 29, 2008 2:06 pm

    The popular reference among my friends is “Praying for parking spaces.” How easy it is to ask God to help us continue in sins of sloth and greed! Not that it’s easy to break out of such a lifestyle… God help me.

  7. Jake permalink
    July 29, 2008 2:19 pm

    The sum of human advancement over the last tens of thousands of years is this: I can stand up and turn around from the kitchen table from where I’m currently writing this and turn on a faucet to obtain clean drinking water in the blink of an eye. I have EVERYTHING I COULD EVER POSSIBLY NEED WITHIN AN ARMS REACH OF ME RIGHT NOW (and I include my ’72 Fender Telecaster Deluxe in my basic needs).

    I’m looking at my faucet thinking: “Now, whatever do I need God for? I have taken care of all my needs.” And I will become a tired, self absorbed and egocentric glut who thinks that, now that I can no longer see a need for God, maybe I myself am God. And I’ll be happy and content in my materialistic stupor, ignorant of the slow rot that’s taking place within me as I promote my own self importance saying “Look at me! I have all of these things. But having that thing would be nice too…”

    Or maybe I’ll just go pray around a gas pump.

  8. July 29, 2008 2:56 pm

    Jake – that’s only true if it’s a real ’72 Deluxe, and not the reissue.

  9. July 29, 2008 3:23 pm

    Will not the judge of all the earth do right? No, to you it may seem that the suffering millions around the globe offer prayers that hit the ceiling, but to say that their prayers are not answered, that God is sitting back and doing nothing is to profess to know the mind of an omnipotent God who rules with total sovereignty. You can’t see the big picture of the story He’s crafting, including even the painful chapters that will in the end glorify Himself. We’re to trust that He’s in control, then get about our mission as Jesus defined it, that is, to obey the Great Commission while also fighting for social justice.

    Funny, I was just reading some about this earlier, in John Piper’s shockingly biblical chapter on Money in Desiring God. Piper’s point is that no, we’re not wrong to enjoy the good things God provides (within limits), but we are not to follow the deadly health-and-wealth gospel of Joel Osteen and so many others, that suggests we are to live in opulence because we’re “children of the King,” while the rest of the world starves and sits in poverty. We’re called to a “wartime lifestyle,” to be content with the necessities of life, and the one who “has two tunics, share with him who has none.” We shouldn’t necessarily pray for a recession, but we should pray for a revival in the hearts of American Christians who are blind to their responsibility before God.

  10. July 29, 2008 4:09 pm

    Greg,

    Methinks you wildly missed my point with your first paragraph.

    As to the whole epistemic humility thing and what I claim to know of God’s mind you may want to take a peek at a few other articles around here.

    Greg speaks: and BOOM goes the dynamite!

    2nd paragraph is OK.

  11. lonetruth permalink
    July 29, 2008 4:50 pm

    Why are we discussing this? After Jesus came and left, the Age of Miracles was officially over. All the crap happening to us now is OUR FAULT. God has turned His back on us because WE have turned our backs to HIM. So He’s all like, “Ok whatever, do whatever you want… just don’t come crying to me when you destroy yourselfs.”

    God didn’t raise gas prices, and He sure as heck ain’t gonna lower them. We’ll need to persuade our “government” to do that, or switch to bikes. God has nothing to do with this problem.

    TIP: Anyone reading this who feels “broke”? Try this exercise: go to the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter and VOLUNTEER for one day. Come out, compare THEIR lives to YOURS. I am sure no one will tell you to get down on your knees and THANK GOD for how He has blessed you.

    Those pot-bellied starving kids in Africa? I WAS ONE OF THEM. Somehow I made it to the United States, where I have a MUCH better life (no more risk of DEATH by Malaria!), whether or not I am broke or paying $4 for gas. In fact I thank God that I actually have a bank account, even if it IS very low!!

    So even as I strive to make a better life, I thank God daily for my blessings.

    You all ought to do the same.

  12. July 29, 2008 5:18 pm

    Claiming that God is causing the suffering for His glory – is claiming to know the heart of God.

  13. July 29, 2008 8:18 pm

    In Brazil 5.000 families hold the 50 per cent of Brazilian GDP. Total population 180.000.000 people.
    NORTH American Christians NEED a recession local prayers are not involved in good mileage or cheaper gasoline they don’t have car.

  14. Jake permalink
    July 30, 2008 12:38 am

    [off topic and irrelevant] J, while I agree that original ’72 deluxe’s are gorgeous and make me full of lust and envy, I have to tell you that, having played both an original and a reissue, I bought the reissue. Mostly because it was $3000 dollars less, but also because the new pickups are far better and the pots are rated more appropriately for modern amps. I can’t justify spending almost four grand on a guitar when it’s reissue is way less and sounds better.[/off topic and irrelevant]

    Good post Scott. Guitars are just way more interesting.

    oooooooo IRONY!

  15. July 30, 2008 8:13 am

    I know that even as a college student I am more well off than most of the world…but I still hope and pray for lower gas prices…haha…it’s humbling to have to choose between groceries and a trip home.

    I agree though, that we as North Americans need an eye-opening experience to get our hearts back on track. If that should happen through a recession, then praise God…

  16. Brian permalink
    July 30, 2008 3:01 pm

    Recession? A recession would just normalize the bubbles all around us, not really — really — put the screws to our bread and circuses. The stagflation of the 80s just fueled the excesses we’re coming down off of now.

    No, if we want a return to the faith that with put a stop to Creflo & Co hawking their wares, we should pray for the refining fire of oppression. I only hesitate in saying “I really mean that” because I’m not sure how much of my comfortable faith would survive that fire.

    But seriously, do you really think $8 gas and 20% unemployment would rein in our ridiculousness?

  17. July 30, 2008 3:30 pm

    Brian,

    You’re right. Most likely recession would stop very little nonsense. It would work for some, and that would be a small victory, but for many–especially in our materialistic society–the promises of untold wealth would merely be more attractive in the midst of stern economic challenges.

    Yes, we could do with some good old fashioned oppression… and by we I mean Creflo and Co.

    I wholeheartedly agree: “I only hesitate in saying “I really mean that” because I’m not sure how much of my comfortable faith would survive that fire.”

  18. August 1, 2008 10:28 pm

    Good post. But just between you and me I’m really enjoying a few months of American materialism…

  19. Clifford ishii permalink
    September 26, 2008 11:13 pm

    It’s a good bet that God will use a recession to raise more Biblical Christians in the US.

  20. Jake permalink
    September 27, 2008 8:02 am

    Do you know where I can find bookies who are taking that bet? What’s the over/under on that one?

Trackbacks

  1. Prayer Meetings for Gas??? « The Temple
  2. A New Spin on Consumerism | Think Christian

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