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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Mechanism of Abundance

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    I will protect them from those who malign them.
(Psalm 12:5 NIV)


Mark Twain once addressed the propensity for the religious in America to send missionaries to China. He suggested that those missionaries might be better placed within the lynching fields of America imbued as they were with the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Likewise, I think there is a tendency for us to assume that “relatively speaking” everyone in America is wealthy. An image arises in our mind of emaciated children in some foreign land with distended bellies gazing toward us in dispassionate desperation. No doubt those born in America are fortunate in many ways. However, this in no way eliminates the fact that many in America live in poverty and the continual stress as to whether there will be enough money to pay the rent and to buy food--there are many that must assiduously account for a mere $20 that represents their set-aside for food to last out the month.

This is all to say that I believe that Psalm 12:5 quoted above relates not only to far-off countries, but to many in our own country.

Sometimes it is frankly quite difficult to discern where good practical sense ends and ethics begins. Consider the tax plan recently made into law. The role of ideology can be illustrated by a perceived ambiguity in national affairs. That is, since the phenomenon observed is somewhat hazy we all feel justified in a Rorschach application of values derived exclusively from our own experiences and prejudices. Since it seems that no position is QED provable, we ascertain that our subjective view must be right and should be passionately pursued as if it were.

The Republicans have long advocated a “trickle-down” approach in which the wealthy are “wealth creators” and generate jobs and incomes for many through their investments. It is my belief that history has not demonstrated the correctness of this principle. Rather, it makes greater sense in my view to map out the true situation through the economic process called “the Velocity of Money”. The following description of the process is by Joshua Kennon. (

What Is the Velocity of Money?

Simply defined, the velocity of money is a measure of the economic activity of a nation.  It looks at how many times a unit of currency ($1 in the case of the United States) flows through the economy and is used by the various members of a society.

All else equal, the faster money travels (the higher the velocity of money) and the more transactions in which it is used, the healthier the economy, the richer the citizens, and the more vibrant the financial system.  The velocity of money tells you how efficient $1 of money supply is at creating economic activity…..

Ultimately, economic growth is the result of consumer demand.  Thus, you want money in the hands of people who will spend it, in turn, increasing the velocity of money.  Tax cuts that only [preponderately*] benefit the rich, rather than the average school teacher going into Target to buy a box of cereal or a video game for her child, are a failure.  [*bracketed word my addition].

There are many religious groups who foresee a coming apocalypse due to the divisive centrifugal forces rending our society. It is also possible in my view to see God acting in history in ways that concurrently increase abundance and economic justice.

Transcending Doctrinaire Ideologies

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fantasy Land and the Money Tree

24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19 (NIV)


Jesus in the Beatitudes says “Happy are those…” who live from essentially a stance of humility and gratitude.  The other day Connie and I asked our doctor if he could make a general observation about how HE is treated by patients.  He said that those at the top and those at the bottom of the social pyramid are generally the most difficult to counsel.  When all bark is removed, the common element of both groups is their proud belief in their sheer entitlement.  Like the doctor, I have seen that those entitled by government funding at the bottom lose sight of the fact that the source of government funding comes sooner or later in one way or another from working families struggling to pay taxes while supporting their own families. In essence, the entitled can view the source of their funding coming not from other people (essentially what is social in nature) but painlessly from a type of disembodied SYSTEM.  I see no difference in this than those wealthy at the top who never give it a thought that much of their wealth ultimately derives from the labor of others.  The wealthy top executive feels totally entitled to millions in compensation from a capitalistic SYSTEM safely detached from any suffering of real people.  No doubt there were slave owners who never once questioned the total justification of slave compensation and lack thereof.  Likewise I’ve heard totally complacent present-day executives purr regarding the idyllic contentment of their employees subjected to the stress of chronic under-compensation and dead-end jobs.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sentimental Hogwash or Foundational Surety?

Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.


The other day I played one of my favorite theme songs “Don’t Fence Me In.”  A freedom to roam and explore stands paradoxically as testimony to a nurturing, steady, reliable, and supportive background.  The turmoil of presidential politics in the United States during the past year came as a jolt to many Americans.  We felt much as children would feel who became long accustomed to a loving, nurturing environment when suddenly one parent (institution) became rabid with abuse, untruth, and malignant ill will. Such children who once assumed foundational comity and trust now felt dangerously close to the edge of a sucking abyss.


May the Force Be with You


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