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Some Initial Thoughts on the Bailout

September 29, 2008

I am not an economist, so perhaps, when some of those in power suggest we would experience economic Apocalypse without this plan I am open to the possibility that I should listen. At the same time I am also cognizant of the fact that the man in charge of this entire procedure doesn’t have the best track record the last two years in predicting market trends. As he assured people for a very long time the market was “bound” to get better and we had seen the worse… and that was last year and six months ago. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Ultimately, here’s the problem from the theological cheap seats: man made economic systems will always further the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Democracy is not a Christian ideal, American democracy is not a Christian economic system. It works better than some other systems but eventually as with all man made economic systems the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. As I look through history and around the world I see no other result to human economic systems.

As I sit in another country watching from afar the events in America I can’t help but to think the bailout may be one of the greatest heists in the history of mankind. The powerful elite taking from the many to give to the elite rich.

Finally, I am left wondering where the real prophetic voice of the church is. How come I don’t hear anything from any of the pastors with influence in their country?

America where is your Amos?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2008 7:16 am

    Democracy suffers from the same problems as the alternatives. It functions at an ideological level and actively resists critical analysis. Amos was shot a long time ago and no one dares step up to the plate since, lest they bear the brunt of the angst from the powerful collective denial of Western society.

  2. September 29, 2008 7:42 am

    what? no one’s speaking out? is it freezing cold up there and the internet has been broken?

  3. September 29, 2008 8:35 am

    I know people are speaking out… I guess to express it more properly I would wish that pastors with some “notoriety” for lack of a better word would actually open their Bibles and their brains and possibly call this for what it is.

    But I guess Rick Warren is too busy trying to chumsy up to politics and Joel Osteen is too busy trying to convince people God wants them to be like the power brokers and rich elite, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised the voice of dissent is coming from the marginalized and may not be getting heard quite as loudly.

  4. Scott permalink
    September 29, 2008 11:55 am

    North American Christianity is affluent. I’m not talking about the Benny Hinn mammonolatry. I’m talking about myself, my values and the values of pretty well all the other Christian people that I speak with on a regular basis. If a man that was laid off from a bank that collapsed, losing most of his savings in the process, I wouldn’t expect he’d get advice like this: “My brother, sell what you have left and give it to the poor, stop being troubled by the things of this world, and come, follow Jesus and start building up treasure in heaven.”

    That’s not who we are. We are not in the tradition of Amos. The North American lifestyle is only possible because there are other parts of the world that are poor. It’s somewhat dependent on people not caring about them. The North American church, by and large, buys into this system. The “problem” isn’t Rick Warren or Joel Osteen or Benny Hinn. The problem is that virtually all of North American Christian culture tries to take the camel sized teaching of Jesus and put it through the eye of the needle that is our economic system.

  5. September 29, 2008 12:01 pm

    “tries to take the camel sized teaching of Jesus and put it through the eye of the needle that is our economic system.”

    That’s a good metaphor… I may have to plagiarize it some day!

    Man I’m getting whacked on this one:

    A) I’m not suggesting that these men are “the” problem, but the laity tend to value what the leaders highlight and live it out in their embedded theology.

    B) Amos robustly criticized those that were in a position of prosperity, and how they handled that position. Perhaps there is some insight for North American Christians that find themselves in the same privileged position.

  6. September 29, 2008 1:09 pm

    I think the Prophetess was too upset about her placing in the W.P.E. to share her gifting of prophecy on the economy with us.

    There was a warning a few years back, that people didn’t really heed:

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. —Thomas Jefferson, 1802

  7. Jake permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:17 pm

    I’ll see your real Thomas Jefferson quote and raise you one made up quote of my own:


    ~J.P Morgan & J. Rockefeller~

  8. September 29, 2008 3:08 pm

    I would like to see a collection of quotes from all the prophets last year who said something like:

    “2008 is going to be your year of harvest”

    “The year of Jubilee is at hand, and heavens storehouses are about to be opened”

    “You are about to see blessings like never before”

    “God’s hand is on America, and I am seeing a breakthrough in the heavenlies, hallelujah. 2008 will be a breakthrough year in your finances…”

    I should really go on tour.

  9. Jake permalink
    September 29, 2008 6:16 pm

    Can my band open? We’ll play “Days of Elijah” 3 and a half times to open your performance.

  10. Jake permalink
    September 29, 2008 6:16 pm

    Or even three times and four…

  11. September 30, 2008 5:44 am

    I would not support a declaration that the American lifestyle is “only possible because there are other parts of the world that are poor.” This assumes that the global economy is a zero-sum game. That is not the case. My going to work every day and earning a paycheck does not impoverish a family in Zimbabwe. The actions of the ruling class and business interests in (but mostly the ruling calss, in that example) Zimbabwe impoverish her people.

    Also, America is not a democracy, nor is democracy an economic system. America is a constitutional republic, the leaders of which have all but abandoned its founding document in the naked lust for power. It is this lust for power that has created the current crisis; Congressional shills for special corporate interests have created windfalls for their masters, and the fiat-funded house of cards is starting to crumble.

    Redistribution is also not a Christian economy. Rather, I should say, “forced redistribution” — the kind facilitated by kleptocratic government action. Early Christians “gave all they had” by choice, and that is fundamentally important. Sure, we need to be criticized for being gluttonously selfish as Americans (and Canadians) (and Brits) (and so forth).

    But the existence of poverty in the world is not proof that American “capitalism” (sic) is evil, nor is the current financial fiasco a repudiation of actual capitalism. (In fact, I would say the parable of the talents, on one level, reinfoces the justness of capitalism). Make no mistake: this is the result of nepotism and cronyism. A level playing field and the lack of congressional arm-twisting for the sake of political expediency would have kept this entire episode from happening. (And the abolition of the Fed would keep it from happening again, but that’s a whole other conversation)

    I think that complaints that Americans Westerners don’t give enough are justified (though Americans in particular give more to charity than anyone else, even as a percentage of earnings), but only because we have so very much to give. But I think rank-and-file Christians have a lot more stroke in that area — as living sacrifices and therefore living testimonies — than the “leadership.”

    Finally, Scott, I think Paulson was telling the truth: the economy is bound to get better… after it gets worse. Much worse.

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