Tag Archives: money

End Poverty = Export Capitalism?

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The way to end poverty is to export Capitalism?   – USA today article from the opinion section on why Haiti continues to struggle economically and historically why it hasn’t developed.  Suggesting that simple capitalistic ideas of development and  entrepreneurship can win the day.  I give this opinion a solid maybe and maybe not.  I tend to believe in free economics, that greed is one of the best motivators for development and that you can’t legislate development, rathat it happens best somewhat organically.  Microeconomics are largely influenced by Macroeconomics and vice versa.  It’s a living organism of trickle down effects and grassroots people responding to opportunity.  In theory, Capitalism creates that opportunity for people to respond to and work to thrive.  However, history tells us that there are always power seats that can control opportunity, that it is never truly free.  The other thing is that Capitalism is rooted in the American story of fighting for what you have, creating anew.  Our stories of the Mayflower, the pilgrims and the patriots of the Revolutionary War breed the framework from the day we are born for these ideas of development to take root.  I wonder how successful capitalism can be without these stories of old that define a people and give construct to their worldview.  An uber-capitalist I assume would say that the desire to develop and progress is innate in human nature and not strictly defined to a people’s cultural history.  I think that is a bit idealistic, all of us have been shaped by the Story we live in, its where many of our ideas come from.  Can we change?  surely, but it isn’t that easy nor that quick.  Capitalism as an idea was grown out of the post-Reformation revolutions of Europe, it didn’t happen overnight.  Those experiences shaped the idea of the seeds of capitalism that eventually made its way on the Mayflower.  Ideas are living things, they ebb and flow with culture.  To me, the bigger question is not can we export and project a capitalistic structure on Haiti?  The bigger question is,does Haiti have the stories that the idea of capitalism can take root in?  If not, its a failed experiment from the get-go.  The idea that will work must be Haiti-centric, not Ameri-centric.  When oh when will we (American foreign policy) learn that lesson? peace, Marshall

continued death of free market

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Rarely do I get too political, but this caught my eye today:  GMAC bailout.    I don’t get why we are so afraid of allowing the free market to open and close doors for businesses.  I thought the free market was part of the American Dream.  If you work harder, have a better product, deliver it better, then you get to thrive.  If you don’t, you are on your way to extinction.  This American Entitlement to existence will be our downfall, just ask Rome.  At the end of its days, Rome spent more resources consuming and less and less resources producing.  There was free bread in Rome, so why protect the boarders.?  Their enemies crossed boarders and closed in like a hot knife through butter, they got soft.  (this is not a boarder/immigration issue, this is just basic economics)    America is soft, run by those who profit off of the masses who feel entitled to their inflated ways of life and doing business.  A free market is harsh, but it’s real and it’s free.  But it will be the ideals and tenets of a free market that I will teach my children, for a borrower is always slave to the lender. peace,marshall

Money and the American church pt. 2

So I’ve been having a discussion with my younger half-brother who is in a decision making place of whether to seek ordination in his denomination for his future vocation at the end of his bachelors degree or to try and figure a way to do the ministry that is on his heart differently.  In any system, there are pros and cons and in something as deeply personal as our spirituality, its hard to apply the same business principles to that we would in franchising a business.  This  has me reflecting on these issues again. There is a long history of questions and issues with professional ministry vs. a self-supporting model.  In the New Testament you have the apostle Paul both tent-making and seeking financial support from believers.  With this, I don’t think its a moral or theological issue (many would argue me on that point).  The reason I fired myself from professional ministry was a cultural issue and a sense of self-awareness.  Although I was professionaly prepared for ministry in the American church (undergrad. and graduate degree) and had all the experience needed, it was a matter of calling and the time I live in.  1) a problem of trust – the American church has lost major trust with the people, both in and outside its walls.  Stories of scandals and impropriety is the word on the street and the people I want to be in conversation with have a major issue with money and the church.  So if I’m not taking a paycheck, then at least that communication barrier is out of the way. 2) exchange of goods and services – spiritual accountability is an intimate and at times rough ground to cover.  How honest can I be with people I’m caring for if I rely upon their giving to feed my children?  Let’s not spiritualize this, its a human response.  3) the drive to be productive – American ministry, as I was trained in, is deeply intertwined with the American corporate business model where productivity and busyness is king.  You focus on the things that bring a return to the organization.  This is incredibly confusing when the Kingdom of God as expressed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is a “bottom-up” model and our church is designed as a “top-down”  hierarchy model.  One of those has to give.  What’s my point in all this?  I grieve for a church that has forgotten who we are.  We are not rooted in our ancient stories (the Scriptures) handed down to us from those who have gone before us.  Instead we’ve exchanged it for a model to be exciting, enticing, obsessively productive and relevant to the world around us.  Are we selling people a “feel good” pill or are we offering the kind of water that doesn’t make you thirsty anymore?  I believe, our hope is in living in our story, one rooted in the truth of the mind of our Creator.  If the recession doesn’t go away, if the american economy struggles for a decade, what will the questions of the church be?  Will will be grieving our senses of entitlement to buildings and vocations or will we be ready to care for people and show them a simpler and more wholistic way to live?  Will our message be hope and life?   That’s what I wonder about.  

I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.  That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love.  The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed  us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.  – Henri Nouwen  In the Name of Jesus peace, Chris

Money and the American church pt. 1

This is something I posted almost 2 years ago and I want to re-visit it here for a bit.  This was before the recession fully hit in America and I still have similar questions.Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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My truck is paid off but the gas prices are killing me. I don’t drive that much and its over $300 per month, not including my wife’s car. So what does this project to as a national economy? Recession seems inevitable, will it go way beyond that? A nation already ruled by fear and over-spending with no margins by individuals and the government, what will be the consequences?How will this impact churches and mortgages and credit lines that can’t be fed? As builders pass on who are the committed givers what is left? 1/2 of boomers are there to give and the other 1/2 are driven past their financial margins with consumerism and can’t help. Gen X and Millenials have very little value in long term comittments, are all about instant gratification and consumerism is their native language. Commonly this group of up and comers are living on 125-140% of their income taking on exponential debt per year. What will be the result of these decisions having no margins when the shoe drops?Will American churches go the way of their European counterparts? Becoming really funky coffee houses, restaraunts, art galleries and dance clubs. Just things I wonder about.peace,