Friday, September 10, 2010

Learning from a Down Economy

A down economy teaches and reminds Christians of things that Lutherans have traditionally taught... but recently in America almost merely in an academic way.

The World is Very Evil.
Moth and rust destroy here.
Wealth and Mammon do not last.
Trust not in Princes, they are but mortal.

I mean, we have "life-changing" financial seminars going on that are basically... live within your means... save some money instead of spending it all...

We should also learn just how blessed we are even now. So much of what we must give up is mere luxury.

This is not to say that people going through economic hard times aren't suffering. Folks are losing many things that they had worked hard to build up, places of memory, signs of achievement - and I have sympathy whether you were a $2million a year white collar worker or $20K a year worker... it doesn't matter what you had - if you have less, it hurts.

But we still have so much - and maybe this will be a harsh teacher to make use learn lessons we need to know.


Ted Badje said...

Losing, not Loosing. The monsters of bad grammar are loose.

Mike Baker said...

I am much less sympathetic.

The average American has no idea just how rich he is by the world's standard. We are so rich in America that we have no idea just how rich we are. We are completely out of touch with reality. Even the hardest hit among us in this "crisis" waste more wealth on a monthly basis than many people see their whole lives. I am considered near the American povertly line, but oversees I was emberrased to describe my mind-blowing wealth when questioned by the locals.

Having been in the developing world recently for a year, returning to this "economic downturn" I had heard so much about on the news has been a sad joke that makes me more than a little angry. I can say from personal experience that we do not even know loss and difficulty. Most of us have barely even been exposed to poverty. Here are some statistics:

If you have just $61,000 in TOTAL household assets (not your annual wage, but the sum total of everything your family owns if liquidated), you are among the RICHEST 10% of people on the planet.

Nearly half of everyone in the world lives on $2 or less per day. That statistic pops into my head everytime someone complains about how bad the economy is while they absent-mindedly buy gum at the gas station that costs more than $2. Many kids I know in America make more in allowance and holiday presents from their parents than some of my friends overseas do.

There is one car for every 11 people worldwide. We should think about that everytime we are irritated or frustrated by car-related topics in general.

Or we should ponder this the next time our waste is magically flushed away so that we don't have to deal with it: 2.6 Billion people in the world still do not have a toilet.

I gave a local a tattered old camping chair that I found under my trailer. I would have thrown it away here in the States because no thrift store would have taken it. It was tattered, dirty, ripped, and the poles were held together with rope and duct tape.

The grown man I unloaded it on cried at my generosity and huged me like I gave him a kidney. I felt like a total ass. I've seen people work 4 hours of dangerous overtime (on top of their 60 hour work week in 100+ heat) in exchange for a 6 pack of wool socks. The phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" took on a whole new meaning.

Our situation is not that bad, people. And when we pretend that it is, we come off really pompus and selfish. The scenes of poverty that you see on charity informercials are not a few isolated places in the world... that kind of living condition is alot more common than you want to think. Just thank God you are blessed to be in the situation that you are in and drive on.

We filty-rich Americans really come off like a Sweet 16 heiress I once saw on TV. She was upset because she got a Lexus instead of the Bently that she deserves... AND it was the wrong color. She screamed that her dad must hate her on national television. That's how we act. We should all just grow up a little and develop some humility. This economic hick-up has proven just how materalistic EVERYONE is.

I don't care if you lost your job and are days away from being put out on the street... you still have never had to choose which of your children will eat and which ones will just have to starve to death because there is literally nothing to eat in your entire community.

Like with all spoiled brats - it's tough love time for America. Wake up. Get some perspective and be thankful rather than upset.