Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Theology of Economics

Is there such a thing as theology to be found in economics? Do the two subjects have anything to do with one another or are they mutually exclusive? Is Tertullian's statement "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem" apply here? I think not. One of the biggest problems in this current economic mess is the failure to realize the underlying causes of all economic turmoil. This lack of thought or lack of perception of the true reality is causing nothing but half baked self serving solutions.
When I was in undergrad my finance professors would always tell me that the market works perfectly. Arbitrage was fantasy and that unless you had illegal information everything you knew about a company was already factored into its price. How naive this thinking truly is. However, today the pendulum has swung and equally as naive statements are being made about the government. What is the real answer? Can anything be done? Is capitalism really dead? Is socialism really the answer?
All of these questions have false premises and therefore do not really address the problem, let alone offer any sort of solution. Right now we are being told that the greedy capitalists on Wall Street have been fleecing all of us ignorant folk for years and that has placed us in the situation we are in today. Government on the other hand will fix these problems and bring about a right order.
On what basis can we believe this... the government is no different. Greedy people looking out for their own self interests are equally entrenched in government as well as Wall Street. This is not a liberal conservative issue. It is an issue of human nature. The fixing group (in this case the government) wants us all to believe that they are better than the alternative. Why... because they just are? No real reason is given nor is any real reason sought to be found.
The problem is that we are all greedy and out for ourselves. The bailout is not what is best for us, but we do not want to suffer the consequences of all of our actions. Our incessant spending into debt, lack of saving, and constant desires to have all our eyes desire is the root cause.
The Bible tells us all about this... however, it could not possibly be consulted or thought of in anyway as relevant (Ha). Notwithstanding, the Bible answers the current economic crisis quite clearly. Our total concern about that which is passing away has caused us to miss our purpose and sell out for temporary nothingness of the now.
How can we as Christians expect anything different from the private or public sector when they do not know Jesus. We expect these plans and theories to work somehow and we expect them to obey our ethics, yet we do not expect them to share our presuppositions.
Therefore, we never enact real change but instead just become complainers about the state of things and offer no real solutions. My hope is to start a discussion on this topic and others facing our culture from a Biblical perspective...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout Bill

I have never written about a political or economic issue on this blog. However, the gravity of the current situation demands clear responses. With all the fearmongering going on in the media, people have to see through to what the truth really is. So this will be a clear explanation of the current mess and how to fix it.
I. How did this happen???

It is fairly simple to explain how the problem has arisen. This is not a Republican or Democrat failure. It is a failure of Government PERIOD. There are three main causes of this problem. First, Congress (republican) and the President (democrat) in 1999 decided to allow insurance companies to be banks. There were very good reasons why these were separate businesses. These assets cannot be mixed. It causes huge conflicts... what if State Farm insures your house as well as covers it with insurance. What happens if it burns down? Repossessed? What if its your money in your savings account backing the insurance policy on your house? Conflict of interest at best, disaster at worst. Ask AIG.

That was a problem, however, a bigger contributor was Alan Greenspan. He began to lax the rules for lending for all lending institutions. Enabling people who had no business getting loans to get loans. Interest only loans for example were given to people or less than interest only. So, these people could actually owe more on the loan every month. Who could not see that these people would default on their loans????

Third and finally Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These institutions were/are implicitly backed by the government. Furthermore, they were also being manipulated by politicians. So what happened? These institutions were told to loan money to and buy mortgages from people who were at very high risk of defaulting. They were told at these institutions not to use INCOME as a determining factor on loans!!!!!!! Now after these institutions were fully governmentalized we are on the hook to service these bad loans.

II. Why is Wall Street freaking out???

When farmers over plant one crop and the price drops farmers want to be bailed out... instantly. Now because all this money is tied up in bad loans (one crop) Wall Street wants their money back instantly from the government to encourage them to continue making poor credit decisions. This is absolute madness. They do not want to live with the consequences of their poor decisions.

III. Can I still get a loan???

Yes and no... If you are a poor credit risk right now you cannot get a loan. This is a good thing. Hold on to your money, save it, wait, you do not need whatever you were wanting to buy anyway. Get yourself into a better position financially. If you have good or excellent credit you will most certainly get a loan. Do not listen to the doomsday predictors on TV. Someone will always provide money when their is an opportunity for profit. So, why are we so concerned that people who do not deserve loans are not getting them???

IV. Government Manipulation

The question is being begged at this point... If the government has been meddling thus far helping create this disaster how will more involvement from them fix the problem???
If you were asking yourself this question... good for you. They will continue to make it worse. Imagine this... four years from now June 2012. The economy is not doing so well and everyone in office wants to get re-elected. What will they do? Time to manipulate the mortgage rates and applications that the government now controls. People get houses they cannot afford... again. They economy takes off for awhile and then collapses for the same reason yet again. Only how will the government get bailed out???

V. Taxes

Where does everyone think this money is coming from to pay for this??? The government can either print money (Causing inflation), sell bonds (the rates are at a point where no one wants them right now) or raise taxes. Even if they other two options are used, the time will come when taxes will be raised to pay for the other two stop gap measures. In other words because of the bad decisions made by these institutions both public and private. Some because they were forced and some because they were allowed, we most certainly WILL be footing the bill for this bailout.

VI. Socialism

This is indeed a socialist plan. The government will control the mortgage market if this bill passes. Do not be naive. If they lay out $700 billion, do not think they do not want to control it, and control it forever. You will have politicians and bureaucrats forever deciding what is appropriate for you to pay for mortgages and perhaps whether or not you could even get a loan. Maybe you will be the wrong gender, religion, or skin color and they have quotas to fill. Plus when has the government ever run anything well? Imagine all the headaches you have now when you have to deal with the government... now imagine them controlling the largest asset you will ever attempt to own.

This is by no means exhaustive in describing the problem. However, hopefully it is enough to move you to write your congressman and tell them to vote NO if this comes up again. The solution is to leave this alone and it will correct itself and people who made bad decisions will remember not to repeat them because they have had to live with the consequences. You will only touch a hot stove once. The free market does work when it is truly free.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Street Evangelism

I feel that the method espoused by Ray Comfort and used here by Kirk Cameron has many strengths. It does a very good job of marrying law and gospel. My only concern/question is, Why does there seem to be no follow up opportunity made? Witnessing should always lead to discipleship. Talking to someone about Jesus and even posing to them the necessary questions to have them consider their need for Christ is good, however, Kirk just left him. He needed to meet with him again, again, and again if necessary. Get this fella plugged into a church and getting discipled. Follow up is perhaps the most important part, for it forms relationship. However, it often times is the most neglected part as well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ray Comfort

I would like to hear some thoughts on Ray Comfort's style of evangelism... I will give my opinions soon

Monday, March 10, 2008

Roman Catholics Come Home

I do not know how many people have seen these commercials from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). I do not know if they are showing them all across the country or not. However, I must say the ones I have seen are excellent. They are real to life. They do not discuss any of the extemporaneous items and beliefs of the RCC. They discuss our problem as humans and how Jesus is the only one who can fix it. How basic and grand. I wish evangelicals had thought of this first. They are wonderful commercials that I am sure will resonate with many people, regardless of whether they have ever had any affiliation with the RCC. I hope that this is a sign of a change in direction for the RCC and that they are going to go back to the Gospel that created the Church and leaving the many man-made "rituals" created by the RCC magisterium.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Global Warming

I am beyond tired of the constant global warming drumbeat. Anyone who believes we are in a post-modern culture, need only to hear this pied piper's flute to know that modernism is alive and well... just not optimistic. I saw a T-shirt the other day that I am endeavoring to own myself. It has the Kool-Aid man on the front and a design on the back begging people not to drink the green fool-aid. How true indeed. It is always amazing to me how those who act as though they are very educated and look down upon those who have "faith" are able to be so blind to their own truly blind faith in scientific postulates. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle seems to apply to many things outside of quantum physics. We know there is climate change... however, we do not know what causes it, nor do we know which way it is going (warming or cooling). However because money and power are at stake there are many who would love to tell you all about it. I personally do not worry about global warming, but I instead worry about what will happen because of the "green religionists". I am confident that all things are underneath the control of the Creator God of the Bible and we are not wreaking havoc that is out of His hands. I do not seek to pollute. I try to be a good steward of the things in which I have been entrusted (I recycle, I use CFLs and I am typing on a Macbook Pro from a fairly green company). However, not to the point where I elevate man to the Almighty or the earth to the be all end all. The people of the "green religion" are usually those who are perpetrating tolerance and love or at least their version of it. They do not deliver any of these though. Instead they deliver fear for their power in a sort of Foucaltian revolution. As John says in his first letter. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Therefore, we have a good deal of work ahead of us still to fulfill the great commission.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Why do we preach?

I had the rare opportunity yesterday to attend and hear a sermon other than my own on a Sunday morning. I was gravely disappointed. Why do we meet together on Sunday mornings? I believe it is for the gathering of the people of God to sing, pray, fellowship, and most importantly hear from His Word. Some of these things did certainly occur. However, there was no sermon. There were some interviews. We watched a video, which was a parody commercial. That was it. More amazingly after all of this people joined the church. I would have loved to interview them to find out what was drawing them to this particular church. Jesus was not preached. The Gospel was not given. The glory of God, The depravity of man, the substitutionary atonement of Christ... none of this was discussed in anyway. Without the Gospel there is no salvation. There may be people moving their letters to the church from another congregation, but there is no heart change without the Gospel. I hope this is not the norm at this particular church. If this is where American churches are or are headed, we are in grave trouble. The moment we sacrifice the Gospel for entertainment, or to transform to the culture around us, we lose what makes us unique and we are no longer performing our duty of the Great Commission and the good works which he prepared beforehand for us to perform.