What Should Christians Say About Economic Crisis?

So far, I’ve seen very little talk about loving your neighbor who can’t pay his bills. But I appreciate what’s been written so far by Dr. Mohler, David Kotter, Jim Wallis, Alan Cross and Scriptorium. And the not-exactly-inerrantist iMonk is the only blogger I’ve seen actually quoting the Bible at length.

So, it’s up to you. What should Christians be thinking and saying during this so-called economic crisis?

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41 Responses to What Should Christians Say About Economic Crisis?

  1. Scott says:

    Most of the people I see upset are the ones who have laid up treasures here (Matthew 6:19-21). And most people, being prudent to at least a small degree have bank accounts and/or mortgages. Afterall, we probably should plan how to be stewards as best as we can with what we are given (Matthew 25:14-29).

    That being said, with the expectation of accountability and responsiblity, I pray that our elected senators and congressmen will suspend all activities so they may put this country first and help devise a plan that will have lasting positive effects for the the average citizen and levy serious consequences to those that started the deception and enabled it to continue. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

    Therefore, this, as with any event, has the potential to give springboards to the ready for discussion of the gospel and salvation that is God’s to bestow when the gospel is preached. Let us be ready. (2 Timothy4:1-5).

  2. Bradley says:

    We should be thinking about the poor, who will be most effected by the crisis. If some middle class people have to “cut back” on their spending, buy cheaper cars, travel less, send their kids to cheaper colleges, buy less toys, etc. … so what?

    But it’s the poor who were barely able to make ends meet BEFORE this economic crisis for whom “cutting back” may mean not being able to have a car at all, not being able to buy diapers for their babies, not being able to afford gas for basic traveling needs (like work and family), not being able to afford to send their kids to college at all, etc. Those at the bottom of the chain are the one’s who will suffer … but I don’t hear much talk about the poor from those who are constantly yacking in the media about our economic crisis. The middle class and wealthy have no real “crisis” on their hands, just less convenience and less toys.

    That’s probably the most important thing we should be thinking about. The poor.

  3. Moths are eating, rust is corroding, and — appropriately — thieves are stealing (Mat 6). This is not to say that a divine “I told you so” is any comfort to those whose homes are being foreclosed, whose 401k accounts are declining, whose jobs are lost. But perhaps economic distress is one way in which God reminds us that we are not in control, that the shoddy construction of our own kingdoms is no match for the Kingdom.

    Was it Lewis who said that God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts to us in our pain?

    Christians could take opportunity to relay the clear message that our problem is neither low standards of living nor financial insecurity, nor is our redemption found in big houses, large bank accounts, and profligate spending. Our problem is sin, and our redemption lies in the One who both was without sin and bore the penalty for ours.

    At the same time, there is much affliction for the Christian preacher to hand to the comfortable. Those who have looted private institutions and entities devoted to the public trust should be accountable, as well as those politicians (D and R) who benefited from the piracy.

  4. Bradley,
    The middle class and wealthy have no real “crisis” on their hands, just less convenience and less toys.

    I have to disagree. Bankers, real estate professionals, and now workers at the largest car dealership in the country have all been impacted to some degree by the current economic conditions. Most all in these professions are middle class. It’s far beyond convenience and toys for many of these people.

  5. Bradley says:

    Stan,

    Although you say you disagree with me, your second statement is actually consistent with what I have said. I don’t doubt at all that middle class families have been “effected so some degree.” But I don’t know of any middle class families who have had a real “crisis” on their hands because of the recent economic conditions. I could be easily persuaded if you give me an example of a middle class family you know of that was forced into a real “crisis.”

    Be more specific … what kind of crisis are the middle class families you know of going through? I’m open to correction.

  6. Bradley,
    Many middle class families do not have 6 months salary in savings for emergency situations. I personally know of about 50 people who have lost their jobs as a result of the current economy. Some of these people will be in crisis mode sooner rather than later.

    How does my second statement consistent with what you said?

  7. Tony Kummer says:

    Most people I know are getting pinched between health care costs and everyday expenses like gas & food. The result is even less saving, or more borrowing.

    The crisis comes if banks start failing, and everyone pulls out of the credit economy. That’s when jobs disappear and those people without emergency cash will have to struggle to keep their houses. It would snowball and effect everyone. I think this is the chain reaction that the government is trying to avoid.

    Despite all these real and alleged economic dangers. I wonder how little Christians are saying that’s any different than the world. We got started as a religion for slaves and oppressed peoples. But now we’re freaking out about our 401k balance.

  8. Fortunately for me, I am so poor that I am not really feeling the effects of the crisis. ;)

    At any rate, I think these “rough times” will begin to show who is and who is not in terms of faithfulness to God. To be honest, 2/3 of the world’s population have less than what our “poor” people have. That really bothers me when we have ministers making 6 figures preaching on doing without during these tough times.

    Just my two cents.

  9. Alan Cross says:

    I’ve actually written quite a bit about this over at my blog, downshoredrift.com.

  10. Brother Hank says:

    Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul…has an answer

    …well, that’s actually his take on the problem – but he talks about his answer on the rest of his blog.

    :)

  11. Bradley says:

    Tony,

    Thank you for your comments. Amen.

    Stan,

    You said, “Many middle class families do not have 6 months salary in savings for emergency situations.”

    But was this caused by an economic crisis, poor planning, or high living standards? etc.? The poor people I know have never had the luxury of having 6 months salary in savings, but middle class people could always downgrade their house to get the equivalent of a 6 month salary if an emergency actually came about.

    For a middle class citizen to loose their nice home may seem like a crisis to someone who is used to having it, but it’s probably more of a psychological crisis than an economic one (all things considered).

    All my close friends growing up, and many of the kids I spend time with today in the inner-city of Louisville live in project housing. Many of my friends use food stamps for food, work a full time job, and barely can afford to buy their kids new clothes at the beginning of each school year. The poor in my city live in small project housing and ride the TARC (public transportation) to work while the middle class have a “crisis” when they are forced to downgrade their nice suburban home. But is this really a “crisis”?

    You said, “I personally know of about 50 people who have lost their jobs as a result of the current economy.”

    I could see if maybe you knew someone who lost their job and couldn’t find work, but the people you are referring to … I wonder … are they permanently jobless or did/will they just have to take a job that pays less? Many of my friends are single mothers who have worked minimum wages jobs all their lives and are trying to raise 3 or 4 kids (with no father in the picture) in gang infested neighborhoods.

    All that said … I think we should be very sympathetic for those who are going through tough times because of the economic setback. Middle class families may have a very hard time accepting adjustments in their lifestyle and it may present them with somewhat of a personal “crisis.” If so, we Christians should be there for them, weep with those who weep, and point them find their happiness in something more stable than economic stability.

    But ultimately it seems to me that Middle class people are just used to living well, and the thought that they might have to “downgrade” is scary. Yet I imagine the poor people I know would probably LOVE to have whatever job or home they are forced to “downgrade” to.

    If those in the middle are getting hit hard by the economic crisis, you can use your imagination to picture how it will effect those who aren’t in the middle, but at the bottom (i.e. the poor).

  12. Bradley says:

    I almost forgot to answer your question, “How does my second statement consistent with what you said?”

    You said, “I have to disagree [first statment]. Bankers, real estate professionals, and now workers at the largest car dealership in the country have all been impacted to some degree by the current economic conditions [second statment].”

    I said in reply, “I don’t doubt at all that middle class families have been ‘effected so some degree.’

    These two statement are in agreement: your second statement and my reply.

  13. Tony Kummer says:

    @Alan Cross: Thanks for the post, I’ve updated my post to link it.

    @Brother Hank: You Ron Paul guys needed this 16 months ago!

  14. Bradley,
    Be more specific … what kind of crisis are the middle class families you know of going through? I’m open to correction.

    I provided specific examples. You are apparently NOT open to correction. Why ask for specifics if you aren’t going to accept them?

    You come across as a propaganda pusher.

  15. Dave Crater says:

    There is one primary, short-term thing pastors, and Christians in general, should be saying about this financial crisis, and one secondary, longer-term thing they should be saying. It is not to remember the poor. Remembering the poor is a standing duty of all Christians, but as Terry Delaney indicates from personal experience, the poor have hardly been touched by this crisis. The lower middle classes from whom come the “sub-prime” borrowers who lie at the root of the crisis have not even been hurt that badly: these people secured their mortgages because of government policies aimed at stimulating home loans to people who could not afford them, and losing (or, in many cases, simply walking away from) a home you cannot afford is a blessing, not a curse. In some cases, it is downright dishonest – you signed a contract you are now breaking even though you can afford to honor it. Either way, there are plenty of places for these people to live – none of them are living on the street, and for that we should thank God. The middle classes who can afford homes and qualify for loans but who have had their ability to refinance or buy cramped somewhat by the crisis – well, if this strikes us as any kind of real hardship, we are spoiled indeed.

    No, the primary thing pastors and Christians should be saying is, “Be of good courage. Be not afraid.” The one pervasive attitude at all levels surrounding this crisis is one of *fear*: fear at what could happen, fear at not knowing what will happen, fear at not understanding the causes of the crisis, fear that it will happen again, and fear that I could be hurt by it even if now it seems to not be affecting me much at all. This fear is, plain and simple, non-Christian and sinful. President Bush, Secretary Paulson, Fed Chairman Bernanke, and many members of Congress are all speaking from so much fear right now that it is painful to watch. The one argument for a $700 billion bailout is, “We need it, and all the associated nationalization of the financial industry, or the financial system will collapse.” No explanation is offered for why the financial system will collapse now when it hasn’t collapsed under any prior crisis; it is just plain, old-fashioned fear talking. The primary Christian message to the nation and the world in response to this fear is simple: “God is in complete control. Trust in Him, do what is right, and be peaceful.”

    Which leads to the second, longer-term message Christians and pastors should be offering, particularly to government leaders: “God is in His temple. Take a deep breath, stop panicking, ask Him for wisdom, and mean it. Then do what is right, not what is popular on Capitol Hill or in the media. God created markets, not men. Remember Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’? We don’t need a $700 billion bailout. What we need is a repeal of the welfare state thinking and laws that try to replace God with government and that regulate banks into giving loans to people who cannot afford them, in the name of “equality” or “fighting discrimination” or whatever else. Repeal these policies, and let the market work to heal itself. Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and every other financial entity in the world arose and prospered not because government enabled them, but because they engaged in free and innovative transactions that built wealth for millions of people according to rules and dynamics God imagined, God designed, God implemented, and that God sustains. Stop interfering with markets – something that violates the property rights God has given to all people and that, among other things, manifest God’s image in men – and markets will once again blossom.”

    To head off the obvious objection to a message like this – that it politicizes the gospel message – I say, no, it doesn’t. There is no such thing as right and left. There is only right and wrong. A government bailout, especially when it is motivated by pure fear, is simply wrong. It will let guilty people and people who made bad market choices off the hook. It will allow us to continue in our ignorance of market principles and morals that God created, and of the real root of our crisis. It will prop up entities that, under any normal market discipline, should be allowed to fail so new, better entities can arise to replace them. It will empower a single man or group of men with far more power than is wise. It will saddle a future generation with a huge debt that we incurred because we tried to replace God with government and then made the problem worse by failing to return to trusting God and the market dynamics He created. Most significantly, it will bequeath to our children a heavily nationalized financial system, one so dependent upon and tied to government, in the name of security, that the freedom, innovation, and healthy risk-taking that lie behind any market economy and any opportunity for bona fide wealth creation for large numbers of people, will be heavily encumbered.

    No fear. No bailout. Trust in God. Trust in markets. Return to moral government limited to its proper and wise scope and powers. Return to individual responsibility, bold gospel doctrine and preaching, and serious Christian ethics for living that are the basis for all the unequalled financial blessing our nation in this crisis still enjoys.

  16. Bradley says:

    Stan,

    Asking for specific examples doesn’t entail a promise that one will automatically accept those examples as proving the point. For example, if an atheist says, “There’s plenty of reasons not to believe in God,” and I ask her to give me an example of a few reasons, that doesn’t mean that once she gives me her examples, I will automatically accept them as proving her point. The point of my asking you for examples in this case was to give me a chance to see whether what you would consider as a “crisis,” is a truly a “crisis” in the big picture of things. If we start having families who, in spite of being willing and able to work, can’t find a job at all, can’t eat, can’t afford basic clothing, or find a roof for over their heads, that’s what I would think of as a REAL economic crisis. Compared to the rest of the nations in the world, I doesn’t seem like we are in a real economic crisis.

    You said I didn’t accept your examples, but actually, I granted your point. If a middle class family looses their job and has to find work somewhere else that pays less, this may indeed present the family with a personal “crisis.” The point I made in response was that in the big picture, what this may mean is that middle class families are presented with a “downgrade” crisis much different than the kind of crisis that the poor deal with on a day to day basis, and will deal with to an even greater extent when this economic depression is in full swing (assuming it will get worse over the next year or two, which I am assuming it will).

    Perhaps the distinction I have in mind, then, is between personal crisis and economic crisis. Middle class families are dealing with a personal crisis as a result of our economic scare, but the poor people in America and the thousands of kids who die each day from starvation are dealing with what I would consider a real economic “crisis.”

    Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective. From one perspective we are in an economic crisis, but from a world-conscious perspective, it doesn’t seem that way to me.

    What do you mean by “propaganda pusher”?

  17. I say propaganda pusher because it appears you’re dismissive of evidence pointing to middle class people suffering a crisis but rather you want to espouse your theory of the suffering of the poor in the US. If someone has spent their career in banking and is now, due to our current economic environment, out of work they’re not going to pick up the phone tomorrow morning and have a job offered to them. People can go months looking for work. It doesn’t seem you appreciate the hardship that can cause.

  18. Bradley says:

    @ Stan,

    If I compare the crisis of a middle class woman who was a BB&T branch manager and suddenly looses her job and is forced to look for a job for months, to the kinds of economic crisis African nations (for example) deal with on a regular basis where thousands of people are literally starving, I can only hope that it doesn’t come across to you as if I don’t appreciate the hardship of the former just because I emphasize the radical difference of the latter.

    Being out of work for months can indeed present someone with great hardship, but the kind of hardship many families in India are going through where starvation is a constant reality—this is a whole different category of hardship that makes a comparison between the two SEEM like we Americans don’t really know what hardship is all about.

    I didn’t actually dismiss your evidence. In fact, I granted your point. I just don’t think you like the way I’ve granted your point yet continued to emphasize my own. Middle Class families ARE INDEED going through crisis [what I have called personal crisis resulting from economic downgrade]. But starving families in Somalia are going through a crisis that’s in a category far beyond what Americans are going through [what I am calling a “real” economic crisis]. Americans may go without job’s for a while, but we don’t go without food or shelter like these other countries.

    The difference between these two species of crisis is so great, I feel justified in reserving the language of “real” crisis for nations who starve to death on a regular basis. We need to keep an eye on the poor in the US, since they are the only one’s in risk (if things get real bad) of starving to death.

    Which “theory” of the poor in the US are talking about?

  19. Bradley says:

    @ Dave,

    Wow. Powerful words. I agree with almost everything you said, and I think you said it well. Thanks for taking the time to articulate the pervading fear and lack of wisdom in the bail out.

    Your right even about the fact that the poor haven’t been hit hard from the current economic change. I’m thinking more long-term, if things get really bad (and they could) to the point where America begins to look like many other nations who experience anything approaching what I have called “real” economic crisis (where people are starving by the multitudes and have no homes), we should do all we can do as Christians to make sure the poor get their basic needs met. This shouldn’t arise out of fear, but love.

  20. Dave Crater says:

    Bradley: Thanks for the good words, but don’t you think your “if things get really bad (and they could)” is the kind of fear I’m talking about? If you really believe that, you don’t have a good handle on just how fabulously wealthy we really are and how far away from a Depression kind of catastrophe we really are. This financial crisis is focused – it arises from mortgages alone, has been driven by specific government policies related to mortgages and real estate, and has affected financial institutions and a small portion of the housing market only. Manufacturing, technology, energy, and every other sector of the economy is humming along as it was before this crisis, which is why popular sentiment throughout the nation is so dead set against this bailout. The phones of both Democrats and Republicans in Washington are ringing off the hook saying, “No bailout” because everyone can see this crisis has been blown way out of proportion because of simple fear and because of the instinct of most people in Washington to look to government rather than the wisdom of God as the answer to the problems we create for ourselves. Times like this are the times where we prove we really believe the faith we profess, and whether we really believe in the traditional American concept of the power and wisdom of market dynamics.

  21. Bradley says:

    Nope. Maybe ignorance, but not fear.

    I’m not as up on economics as you appear to be. If I think things are going to get really bad economically because I don’t understand economics, that’s one thing. If I’m overcome by fear, that’s another.

    But everything else you said after the question you addressed to me is great. I like what you have to say.

  22. Bradley,
    If the conversation is about the “poor” in America as compared to the actual poor in other countries you’ll have no argument from me. The “poor” in America are rich compared to most in the world.

    My point about the American middle class is that many of them are only a job loss away from being in the “poor” category. Many who have houses that have declined in value below what they owe simply will not be able to sell their house and downsize. I think they are facing a crisis compared with other Americans. No. It is certainly not a “crisis” when compared to starving people in countries where Muslim thugs are running the place and slaughtering Christians.

    I think we may have previously had two situations in mind and are actually in substantial agreement. I have been sick for the past few days and am on some new medication which may have kept me from reading your post clearly. Of course I’m still sick and may still be misreading your post. Sorry about that.

  23. Dave Crater says:

    Bradley – Good to hear you are not afraid. There is no reason for anyone, least of all Christians, to be afraid in all this. I would suggest reading some solid, traditional (i.e., conservative) economic perspectives on this crisis. It seems to me that in ministry a certain amount of economic literacy will empower us greatly to help our people during times like this.

    Stan – Your “many of them are only a job loss away from being in the poor category” is simply inaccurate. Middle class people in almost every case, when they lose one job, find another. There is no pattern whatsoever of middle class people dropping into the lower classes from inability to find jobs. They are middle class because they have a college degree, good work history, good credit, and are married – all huge financial strengths. When they lose a job, in most cases they are re-employed in a matter of weeks. If there is any people group in the history of the world that should not be thinking or talking like this, it is Americans, and if there is any group of Christians who should not be talking like this, it is American Christians. All of us are one car accident away from death. I say we should remember this to stay humble and remember to trust God, but not to spread economic fear or put a guilt trip on others about the financial hardships of others who are doing just fine.

  24. I’m not sure the comments in this thread are on topic with Tony’s initial question, “What should Christians say about economic crisis?,” but I suppose not all of us are in agreement that we are in economic crisis!

    I don’t think anyone can argue that the middle-class is shrinking. It’s not gone, but it is shrinking. Jobs are disappearing and it is becoming harder and harder to find jobs with comparable pay and benefits. Of course, anyone can go find a job making minimum wage or slightly higher, but that is not going to support a family.

    It’s not just as simple as “downgrading” when one loses their job either, especially when most do not have any sort of emergency fund. When it takes a increasing numbers of people over a year to sell their home (and that is if you slash it’s price), the issue of losing one’s job can be disastrous. Something to keep in mind is that in a society based on debt, one is middle class only as long as they keep their job. Within 2 months of losing that job that could fall into lower class status very quickly. The bottom line is that as an apartment dweller and as one making peanuts for a living, I am in much stabler financial shape that most “middle class” individuals.

    Regarding Tony’s question, I think one (of many) very practical measure to take is using this opportunity to teach biblical stewardship and the dangers of large amounts of debt, out of hopes that those not yet severely effected will make it through the worst part of this economic depression, however long it lasts.

  25. Adam Winters says:

    I think renting rather than home owning will be a major financial strategy in the future.

  26. Matt Svoboda says:

    I hope America, including me, looses most of our wealth. It will be for the better.

  27. Dave Crater says:

    Brother Gould: In all brotherly charity, your note is what I mean when I say one of the main things Christian leaders should be saying in response to this crisis is, “Stay calm, trust God, and learn some market and financial economics so you can understand the nature of this crisis, govern wisely, and speak sound wisdom.” In order to say this, however, we must know market and financial economics ourselves.

    The American middle class is not shrinking – this whole idea is one promoted by leftist politicians, academics, and media as an attack on capitalism, which creates and is symbolized and supported most powerfully by the existence of the middle class. Karl Marx hated the middle class – called them the “bourgeoisie” and blamed them for all the ills of society – and sought to lead a revolution of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and establish a socialist utopia ruled by the poor working classes. Attempts to diminish the middle class and paint capitalism as doing nothing but creating a bigger and bigger gap between rich and poor, and therefore as a fundamentally unjust system in need of government intervention on behalf of the poor and working classes, is just the same line of thought in less aggressive and explicit garb.

    If it comforts you to tell yourself living in an apartment and making peanuts puts you in better shape than the middle classes, go right ahead, but the American middle class, which you are likely to enter as soon as you finish seminary even if you become a missionary, is as strong and vibrant as ever. Here is an article from Time magazine in the 1980’s, for example, when the Reagan era had led to renewed economic prosperity and a flourishing of both the middle and upper classes, discussing why lefties insisted even then on arguing the middle class was shrinking when it quite clearly was not.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,962753,00.html

    In sum, “crisis” is not too strong a word for what we are in right now, but it is a crisis focused in the highest levels of the financial system, not the poor or middle classes, most of whom have not even been touched, is rooted only in mortgages and real estate investment instruments, was created by government meddling with markets, and will only be made worse by more government meddling with markets. Proper message to and from Christians everywhere: “Trust God, be peaceful, oppose bailouts, know government cannot play God, work hard, be financially responsible, be economically literate, and we will be fine. Don’t trust God, be anxious and fearful, support bailouts and the welfare state, make financial and economic decisions based on that fear and worry, and we will not be fine because we will be trusting in ourselves. The choice is simple.”

  28. Dave,
    There is no pattern whatsoever of middle class people dropping into the lower classes from inability to find jobs.

    No pattern whatsoever? Where do you get your information?

  29. Dave,
    I am hesitant to respond because I have found these types of discussions to be unfruitful, but I will go against my best judgment and do so.

    I didn’t say I was in “better” shape than those in the middle class with mortgages, I said I was in a more “stable” financial position than those in the middle class with tons of debt. There is a difference. I don’t live month to month, and I live within my pay range. It is a documented fact that most in the middle class owe thousands of dollars in debt (not including their mortage) and live month to month on their pay checks. If someone is living month to month and loses their job, they are in trouble quickly. To deny that seems ludicrous to me.

    As for “staying calm, trusting God” and learning basic economic principles, I don’t think I said anything to the contrary.

    As for denying that the middle-class is shrinking, I don’t see how anyone can deny that the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” is increasing at the present time. In economic downtimes, this is what happens. I’m not suggesting that the economy won’t recover (I think it eventually will).

  30. Dave Crater says:

    Joseph: You said in your prior note, “I don’t think anyone can argue that the middle class is shrinking.” It isn’t. You say in this note, “I don’t see how anyone can deny that the gap between the haves and have nots is increasing in the present time.” It isn’t. All wealth gaps – that between wealthy and middle class, that between middle class and lower class, and that between wealthy and lower class – increase during economic booms. Everyone improves – a rising tide lifts all boats – but rich improve more than poor. All wealth gaps shrink during economic downturns, which we are currently in, as precisely the opposite dynamic occurs. As I say, I recommend learning some basic economics so that we can speak wisely during times like this.

  31. Dave Crater says:

    Stan: The burden of proof is not on me to prove a negative. Show some evidence middle class people are dropping off into the lower classes.

  32. Adam Winters says:

    Oops, missed that Time article from 1986.

    Here’s some more fodder for you, I suppose:
    http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1985/03/art1full.pdf
    It’s also from the 80s.

    Perhaps I should rephrase that one:
    “Do you have a source that less than a decade old?”

  33. Dave Crater says:

    Source for what, Adam?

  34. Dave Crater says:

    Adam: There are plenty of sources I could quote you, but if you are not inclined to believe ones from the 1980’s, you are not likely to believe ones from yesterday. If the middle class wasn’t shrinking in the 1980’s, it hasn’t all of a sudden started shrinking now. U.S. GDP grows at about 2.2% a year – according to CIA figures, it was around $13.13 trillion in 2006 and around $13.84 trillion in 2007. That huge increase in wealth every year helps lower class people move into the middle classes and middle class people move into the upper classes. I am a good example. I was born to a lower-middle class pastor who lived month to month – couldn’t afford to pay for my college, for example. Yet both his wealth and mine have steadily increased to where we both are now squarely in the middle class. I have a brother who is wealthy. None of us is the least bit worried about dropping into the lower classes. Every middle class reader of this blog, if s/he is honest, will say the same thing. The idea that “the middle class is just a job loss away from the lower class” is pure fear – it is un-Christian both in the sense of being rooted in fear and of accepting uncritically the world’s wisdom about things.

  35. Bradley says:

    The good thing about my suggestion to focus on helping poor people is that we don’t have to be in economic crisis for this to make sense, and we don’t have to be “up” on economics to understand that whether economic crisis get’s bad or not, we should always remember the poor, starting in the church, and then expanding our generosity to our lost & poor neighbors.

    My suggestion doesn’t depend on whether the middle class is shrinking or not. I know poor people BEFORE the so called “economic crisis” who work two jobs and have to buy VALUE brand everything at the grocery store and go without electricity sometimes just to make it by, can’t afford a car, and sometimes have to visit Social Ministries just to get food.

    Not everybody is educated in economics, but we should all be compassionate with those who are going through tough times, whether it’s because of the economic “crisis” or just because they are poor, or both.

  36. Dave,
    None of us is the least bit worried about dropping into the lower classes. Every middle class reader of this blog, if s/he is honest, will say the same thing.

    I don’t think one has to be dishonest to worry about that. That’s a bit of a reach.

    The idea that “the middle class is just a job loss away from the lower class” is pure fear – it is un-Christian both in the sense of being rooted in fear and of accepting uncritically the world’s wisdom about things.

    First of all, you left out a word that changes the meaning of your first clause. Leaving out the word “many” seems to imply that ALL middle class was intended which was not the case. How is it un-Christian? How is it rooted in fear? How have I accepted uncritically the world’s wisdom?

    You’ve really thrown some large stones and I’m afraid you’re in a glass house.

    My point was that there are people in the middle class for whom this economic downturn will be a crisis. It seemed to me that earlier posts were dismissing the possibility of middle class suffering as if no one in the middle class ever becomes poor. That is simply not the case. No fear involved in that. Just facts. Lose your job and remain unemployed long enough (how much cash do most people have to survive such events) and you will be poor. Worldly wisdom? Give me a break.

  37. Dave Crater says:

    Stan: Yes, worldly wisdom. The world all around us, particularly people in high places in the media, politics, and academia, are saying what you are saying. The middle class is suffering and shrinking, our friends and neighbors are losing their jobs and houses, woe is us. In appealing yesterday for votes in support of a big government bailout, members of Congress said things just like what you are saying – think what could happen to your neighbors and friends if this bill doesn’t pass. You telling me this sounds to you like good, godly wisdom?

    I repeat my suggestion as to what real, godly wisdom is, and what Christians should be saying today: “Let’s dispense with the ‘think what could happen’ talking rooted in fear. Let’s acknowledge that we got into this mess by having government try to play God, and that we don’t get out of such a mess by having government continue to play God. We have the largest, most wealthy, most stable middle class in the history of the world because for the first 170 years of our history we trusted God, required moral accountability of our government, and kept it out of the way of hard work, innovation, private property and wealth creation by the private sector. We thus live in cities we did not build, our houses are richly stocked with goods we did not produce, we draw water from sources we did not dig, and we eat from olive trees and vineyards we did not plant (Deut. 6:10-11). We also have stores of financial wealth in stocks, bonds, and homes we didn’t have to work much if at all for because of the enormous American financial system that anyone can access today and on which the entire world now depends. All of this is the blessing of the American nation beause we have historically worshiped God, not government. Now we have stopped worshiping God and trust in government instead – we ought to change the motto on the dollar to say, ‘In Government We Trust.’ Part of faithfulness to God is taking responsibility for our actions and expecting others to do the same rather than having government play savior and bail us all out. Let’s trust in God, be peaceful, and see clearly the way back to both spiritual and financial health.”

  38. Dave,
    …members of Congress said things just like what you are saying…

    What have I said? All I’m saying is that some, not allof the people currently in the middle class will be in the poor house if they lose their jobs due to the current economy. Nothing worldy about that. It’s just a fact. Would stating that “putting your hand on a hot stove could result in a burned hand” be worldly, un-Christian wisdom?

    Let’s dispense with the ‘think what could happen’ talking rooted in fear.

    Who, other than our government, is doing that?

    We also have stores of financial wealth in stocks, bonds, and homes we didn’t have to work much if at all for because of the enormous American financial system that anyone can access today and on which the entire world now depends.

    Are you serious? If you have such wealth and came about it easily I am very happy for you. What little wealth I have was not obtained in such an easy manner.

    I’m not saying this financial crisis is going to be the end of the middle class. In fact, I don’t think most people will be significantly impacted. I don’t think there is reason for anyone to panic.

    I don’t support the bailout. See my post President Bush determined to use tax dollars to purchase Junk Bonds.

    You may want to try to not read so much into what someone writes.

    Why the anonymity?

  39. Dave Crater says:

    Stan: Thanks for the exchange, brother.

  40. Harry says:

    Guys when the dollar hits hyper inflation all accounts of wealth built up in dollars will be worthless. Please read about Germany and wow if that does not apply in this case. Please understand when the US comes down its ok because our treasure is not the wealth we have hear, but the wealth we have stored up in heaven. Just having the feeling that this end is ok and the fall of the US is inevitable and that is ok too, remember that God is in control and he will bring what ever nation down to its knees. Everyone is going to be hit by this crisis even those who have treasures stored here on earth. So hang on tight and begin to get your spiritual house in order.
    IMHO

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