A Drunk Trying to Make the Next Lamp Post

The old Bobby Bare song, Detroit City, has a refrain that centered on the desire to “go home.” Unfortunately, everywhere else is turning into Detroit City. Pretty soon there will be no home to go to.

Detroit’s bankruptcy, announced yesterday, gives us an opportunity to go over a few fiscal realities, always a good idea if you are careening toward a whole series of fiscal reality checks.

The first thing we must grasp is that we are dealing with levels of municipal debt, state-level debt, and federal debt, that mean a necessary default is coming. If our problems are left untended, we will default. If we wake up in time, and address the pending problem, we will default. This is another way of saying that every genuine solution to the problems created by our fiscal irresponsibility will be a form of default. The only solutions now are defaulting solutions.

The only thing we don’t know is what kind of default it will be. The only thing we don’t know is who the unlucky victim of our defaulting will be.

Government does not make wealth. If government has wealth, then this means it was taken. The only way that the government can acquire the means to pay its obligations and debts is by taking it. The only question left before the house is “who will they take it from?” There are a limited number of options.

When a politician says that we cannot allow our government to default on its solemn obligations, he either believes what he says, and is a fool, or he knows what he is saying is false, and wants us to believe that we must avoid Default A, which is what he is really talking about, and must select from defaults b, c, d, and e, which he does not really consider defaults “technically,” because the people who are going to get hosed by them are not part of his constituency.

The government does not make, and in order to have, must therefore take. Here are the basic ways in which such a taking can happen. The government can wage war on other countries, and take from them. The government can raise taxes, and take that way. The government can debase the currency, and take that way. The government can run up a big debt which it finds itself unable to pay, and take that way. And of course, given the realities of the ongoing political circus, the government can stagger between these options, like a drunk trying to make it to the next lamp post.

Beware of those reforms that hide the reality of the defaulting. Those kinds of reforms are probably the best way of proceeding, but only if they are honestly embraced as the least destructive way of defaulting. But don’t hold your breath. The government lies. The government cheats. The government welshes. The government steals. The government defaults, and hides it.

For example, if the retirement age for Social Security is extended by two years, this does make the program viable longer on paper. It does this by unilaterally changing the terms of a contract — by defaulting. It may be better than doubling down on the current lunacy and having the whole thing go up in a sheet of flame, but it is not better because it isn’t defaulting. It is just as much a default, but it may be less damaging to the recipient.

If you pay your creditor 50 cents on the dollar, that is a default. It does less harm to him than paying him 10 cents on the dollar, which in its turn is not as bad as paying him nothing at all.
Detroit is now defaulting on its bond holders, its pension holders, et al. Look at it straight on — it is hard to make out, but a line has formed and we are trying to make out who is next. Is it California? Illinois? New York? There are municipalities in there too. And if this spectacle becomes too grim, and a demand arises for the federal government to “do something,” this will just be an example of people opting for the coast-to-coast sheet of flame default, instead of the piecemeal approach.

One last thing. I would like to address a few words to those evangelicals who have been seduced by leftist economics, or who are in some way flirting with leftist economics. You may have cannonballed into the deep end, like Jim Wallis, or you may just be sidling sheepishly in that direction, with some cover provided by distributist literature. You think that the language of compassion is more biblical, and the idea of communitarian sharing makes you feel warm all over. You think that businessmen who know how to add and subtract are those who are in the grip of mammon-lust. You don’t like the hard lines of clear thinking, and the blinking sums on their calculators do nothing but harsh your mellow.

Do me a favor, and look at Detroit. Look at the failure of all the compassionate nostrums. Look at the collapse of real integrity. Look at the grasping and demented idiocy of the unions. Look at the abandonment of government’s true functions. Look at the wreckage of human lives. Look at the ruin of a once great city. Look at what aching greedlust does. Behold the handiwork of your compassion.

Look at what mammon in sheep’s clothing can do.

Share on Facebook273Tweet about this on Twitter33Share on Google+2Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

31 comments on “A Drunk Trying to Make the Next Lamp Post

  1. Just watch, somebody’s gonna blame the entire thing on MI’s new right-to-work law.

  2. Many Tribal governments do create wealth by running tribally owned businesses. Many of them reinvest the profits into their communities. On many reservations life hsd gotten better for people. Sure, there are a lot of bad business models on the Rez, but a lot of good ones too. Why couldn’t cities do something like this?

  3. The Mexican government also creates wealth from the oil industry, which they nationalized. But I think even that example would still make Wilson’s point since that generated wealth is based on a previous taking.

    However, there probably is an exception in the form of state run lotteries. These are not a direct taking from the people, since they are voluntary. Though predominant, I’m sure Robert is not simply referring to casinos when he says “tribally owned businesses”, but the problem with the gambling industry is that it really doesn’t scale well beyond the portion of the population that isn’t good at math. The government education system can only do so much here.

  4. When reading the last paragraph Charn came to mind.

  5. “Look at the failure of all the compassionate nostrums.”

    They have, and still return to the mire. They are (courtesy of Mark Steyn) saying that the blame for Detroit is due to the “wealthy” leaving Detroit and so all that is left is “the poor”. Per Steyn, the “community organizers” never want to live in any community that they have “organized”.

  6. Are you SURE you’re not pre-mil? :-)

  7. One of the sadder consequences of this whole leftist economic web we’re stuck in is that many aspects of the economy and employment proper become literally dependent upon the system. Because of this, effectual necessary austerity measures usually cause economic downturns in the short run. It can take years to get a vibrant private economy into full gear – and political patience is required to see the fruit.
    The only hope to avoid the worst case scenarios is for State-dependent democratic societies to patiently outlast the painful process of austerity, hyper-regulatory disintegration, privatization, etc.
    Since our culture has reached the equivalent of societal ADHD, I wouldn’t bet on it.

  8. Are you SURE you get postmil?

  9. Fortunantantly, America’s demise has nothing to do with whether someone is post-mil. Augustine wrote “City of God” because Christians of the day attached a particular nation to the cause of God’s kingdom. But Rome fell (for a lot of the same reasons America is in danger of falling), and yet the church lived on and grew. And many hundreds of years later Christendom has flourished world-wide, and the wreckage of Rome no longer stumbles Christian’s eschatology. Neither will or should the wreckage of Detroit or even America.

  10. A few years ago two French photographers took a series of photos they entitled “The Ruins of Detroit.” They are the perfect visual accompaniment to this post. http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/index.html

  11. …now a judge has declared that gravity no longer functions. This would be humorous if it weren’t tragic.

  12. Here’s a better link to more of the Ruins of Detroit photos. http://www.weather.com/travel/modern-ruins-abandoned-detroit-photos-20130715 They’re haunting and powerfully capture the trajectory we’re on.

  13. Just excellent. Cannot help but wonder how my r2k friends cannot see this piece as a righteous, godly example of how the Lordship of Christ is manifest over economics and politics. I mean who could either a. disagree and say, “None of this really matters. Word and Sacrament after all, not people, even poor pensioners, having their wealth taken” or say b. “Well yes, Doug is right, but only because of natural law. The BIBLE doesn’t speak to our speaking to this.”

  14. My father in law relayed a story to me recently in which a bored substitute teacher decided to lecture his (then) 5th grade class on the principle of “Pay now, or Pay later”. Would that this substitute teacher could have been mayor of Detroit.

  15. Kirsten, those are powerful images. Here’s a clickable link. Also this.

  16. It is good to see these kinds of photos circulating internationally through the interwebs, so that the kings of the earth can see through the pretense, see the other America, and take warning. Let them be on guard and suspicious when we arrive to make their nation “safe for democracy”. They will be able to see that we lie when we say that it was “democracy” that was responsible for our former blessings.

    The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the nations be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah. — Psalm 9:17-20

  17. Government only takes? It doesn’t make wealth? Maybe in a certain way of thinking. But think about how much wealth would not have been created if the government hadn’t, for example, built the interstate highway system. Or the Internet. I presume that private business would have done great jobs on those without the involvement of pesky government. Me and my foolish leftist ideas.

    Detroit is an extreme example of a certain type of foolishness, no doubt about it. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the economies of my native South, where laissez-faire economics has left a seemingly permanent underclass, environmental devastation, and very little hope for so many people.

    Viewing everything through such a lens instead of seeing both the good and the bad of our current economy and government system is the thinking of an ideologue, is frighteningly dishonest, and really has no place in the lives of people of God.

  18. Pastor Wilson speaks volumes when he says that government can only take. It cannot give anything to someone (food stamps, expressways) unless it has first removed the money for that “gift” from someone’s pocket. What “good” are Detroit’s many expressways now, except avenues of escape? What good is the Internet (not built by “government”, I’m afraid, or it would operate like the USPS), except to find a home elsewhere.

    No one complains about paying that (tax) money for useful government services; at times, even for war (though that is a stretch). But everyone needs to understand the rules: government provides services to the taxpayer, not the other way around, as occurred with the endless expenses accumulated by Detroit’s government (just how many “bonds” can a city float before it sinks under the repayment rate?).

    Pastor Wilson offers no easy solutions, contrary to what politicians WILL say…..Oh, we’ll just take a little money from Idaho and Georgia, and maybe raise fed taxes on all those people sweating (or freezing) out a living in the ND oil-fields. But that is just as dishonest as armed robbery, and a lot more damaging to this nation’s soul…..what’s left of it.

    My solution? left Michigan take care of it……however they decide to do. But…..no more federal money. No more. They have wasted enough already. Austerity is hard, but it is the way this country was built. Let it work. In the meantime, pray for the repair crew; they will need our prayers.

    Thank you, Pastor Wilson, for your piercing insight!

  19. Kirsten, in looking at those photos of Detroit, I saw a pretty poignant shot in #6. In a ruined church building, there was a large sign across the wall that says, “And You Shall Say God Did It.”

    Very appropriate. Judgment is real, on many levels.

  20. “For example, if the retirement age for Social Security is extended by two years, this does make the program viable longer on paper. It does this by unilaterally changing the terms of a contract — by defaulting.”

    Not so. SS is not a contract, it is a wealth transfer scheme that collects money from the currently employed and their employers, and transfers it to retired workers and the spouses of children of deceased workers. The terms of the tax collection and the distribution are both “subject to change” at the discretion of Congress at any time. A court case brought by a communist alien being deported from the USA led to an explicit determination of this: http://www.ssa.gov/history/nestor.html -

  21. Jay — It was also not terribly unhappy to notice that one of the abandoned sanctuaries was a Unitarian church.

  22. If Obama had a city, it would look like Detroit.

  23. [...] Read the rest here. [...]

  24. Jim Wallis is to blame for Detroit? Compassion is to blame for Detroit? I think not. I invite you to read https://www.facebook.com/RBReich for a rather different explanation of the city’s woes; or, for that matter, try reading Charlie Le Duff’s fine book DETROIT, which makes it clear that there’s plenty of blame to go around. By the way–it’s absolutely true that “the language of compassion is more biblical,” and that compassion is the antidote to the “aching greedlust” you properly decry.

    As to “The government lies. The government cheats. The government welshes. The government steals. The government defaults, and hides it”: gosh, that’s helpful. I wonder why there’s so much anti-government sentiment around today, and so little trust in our governing institutions. You do realize that your passage could easily be rewritten with “corporations” replacing “the government,” don’t you?

  25. @Jack – of course there are bad corporations, but they don’t have a gun pointed to my head forcing me to buy their product, and if they welsh on a contract or steal, then they can be sued and run out of business. We have no such recourse with government. In fact, when government does those things, the answer is usually to give the government more money to “solve” those problems.

  26. Jack Shifflett seems to have missed the point. Doug is not speaking against true compassion at all. Rather Doug is speaking against what has been done in the name of compassion, but which has resulted in greater oppression and damage. The road to Hell is paved with “compassion”. This is not about anti-government anarchy. It’s simply about returning the government to its proper sphere. The government bears the sword as minister of God’s wrath, they do not bear the arms and hands of compassion and charity which have been given to the Church, supplied from God’s tithe. Our government is now a usurper, setting itself up as a new church.

    Until we repent of this fundamental confusion of spheres (and many other sins), we will continue to have things like Obamacare thrust on us. Its utopian intention is to bring health care insurance to all, but the end result will be even less coverage than before as loopholes are found and more folks simply become part time laborers who don’t qualify. We all know this is what will happen. We’ve seen it all before in socialist countries and with the bankruptcy of Social Security. We seem to just like to do it to ourselves anyway. Envy is blind that way.

    Doug is completely correct to point out that this all ends in default. The only question is the nature of the default. Can we still walk it back reformationally, with repentance, or will we proceed on our present course to revolution and violence?

  27. I found this article by the author quite interesting until I realized he was a Pastor and most comments were from religious points of view, which I also found interesting. But how ironic it is that the Pastor speaks of how the government “takes”, and it is apparent he is referring to monetary taking. Really? And the churches of the world do not “take” Pastor? Last I heard the tax exempt status of most churches across America seemed to keep Pastors and Priests and most clergy in very comfortable, and secure, houses, with admirable social status, and mostly for the benefit of a very few male citizens in an institution that practices sexism in its hierarchy. So the next time you comment about government and “takers” you might include where the first business model of taking started…and taking from the hands of the people…in those little straw baskets that “took” their hard earned cash so the churches across Europe, America, and throughout the world, could maintain their enormous power structure. Perhaps this “government” of “takers” carried on the tradition from the most accomplished takers of all, religious institutions. Now I wouldn’t leave my comment on such a cynical note because I believe that most religious people and institutions have the best interest of the world and the people at heart. Perhaps the church and the government just ended up in the same quagmire, trying to do good, but having to swap defaults here and there. Just look into the activities of the Vatican to get an idea of those default swapping principles…but I digress…still an all, good article Pastor.

  28. The timing of folks like Lenore is comically upsidedown. Of course the Vatican is a perennial target for the accusation of hoarding of wealth, but Lenore speaks to us as if we should feel guilty about what Rome is doing when we Protestants were kicked out for objecting to this very kind of abuse centuries ago. Someone needs a history lesson. Lenora is late to that party.

    As far as the charge of “taking”, Lenore will have to explain that one. The Church has no authority to confiscate in the manner of the civic magistrate. The tithe to God’s Church is completely voluntary, and is a sign of cultural health and gratitude for God’s blessing. Yet the evidence from recent giving statistics shows that the Church is practically being spurned in our day, even by believers. Many churches are in maintenance mode. Churches need to repent and recover their benevolent role from the State, but it won’t be done through financial “taking”.

    While giving to faith-based or religious charities is responsive to large-scale needs, the actual giving to the Church in the U.S. is at the lowest point since the Great Depression. It is below 2.5% of income today, and the trend is headed down. Much of that figure likely comes from endowments left by elderly parishioners. Meanwhile the government taking continues to rise, and must double soon if we would even pretend to avoid default (which is why we won’t avoid it). Talk about straining at gnats while swallowing camels.

    Assuming that Lenore wasn’t just trying for laughs, then perhaps the idea was to kick the Church while it is down? Many unbelievers find it cathartic. In times like these, it is human nature to want to blame someone else, and to find a scapegoat, particularly religious scapegoats. Christ taught us all about that side of our nature. But He is the Scapegoat to end all such sacrifice. He took on our sin and bitterness willingly. God saved the ugliest and most humiliating role of history for Himself, and this is the greatest scandal. Lenore may lay it all on Christ, and His people, if necessary, because Christ has already demonstrated His resilience to the worst that man can do, and we are His people, and He is our God and King.

  29. I appreciate and welcome the reply Katecho. First, I lay NOTHING on Jesus Christ. I think my original comment to the Pastor was cynical, as I hinted at, because I was surprised that the discussion of government “taking” would be so contemptuous from a religious person of the cloth. His comments about how the government does not create wealth and only “takes” from the people who do are interesting yet simplify a very complex situation. Since religious institutions are based on the same “giving” and “taking”, I thought his commentary was ironic. And you have to admit that the Vatican and churches in general don’t create wealth. They get it by “taking”.
    The government “lies” the Pastor writes, and “businessmen”, who of course never lie, have calculators of reality. Let’s blame and trash “liberal” “compassion” and the “greedlust” of the unions. The Pastor doesn’t seem to think that the corporations who sucked the life out of Detroit and took their spoils to another place count for anything? The shock jock radio talk show host side of the Pastor seems to have more influence over his soul than the good book. But that seems to be the trend now days. What were you saying about the fall in tithing Katecho? As you can see, the church has many other places to get their tax free market share.
    The 2.5% that churches get from peoples income is an interesting stat. The tax free religious institutions i.e. universities and mega churches seem to do quite well. One only needs to glance at the televangelist empire to see the “taking” of tithing from the people. And as far as “history”, this kind of human behavior is a hallmark in what becomes of institutional systems. Jesus Christ Himself was campaigning against the institutions that were betraying his brethren. So this “taking” is nothing new to human history. But some organizations are better at it than others. And I am certain that Christ Himself would be appalled at what has been “taken” from people in His name.
    Katecho, I think Jesus would be scratching his head at the Pastors words. So please don’t accuse me of blaming Him.

  30. Lenore wrote:

    Since religious institutions are based on the same “giving” and “taking”, I thought his commentary was ironic.

    It seems Lenore has chosen to ignore the reminder that Church giving is 100% voluntary. Repeatedly calling it a taking won’t change reality. The Church is not the IRS.

    Lenore continues:

    The government “lies” the Pastor writes, and “businessmen”, who of course never lie, have calculators of reality. Let’s blame and trash “liberal” “compassion” and the “greedlust” of the unions. The Pastor doesn’t seem to think that the corporations who sucked the life out of Detroit and took their spoils to another place count for anything? The shock jock radio talk show host side of the Pastor seems to have more influence over his soul than the good book.

    Lenore is not a reliable judge of Wilson’s soul on this issue. Particularly since Doug never said that businessmen never lie, or that greedlust among corporations played no role. Those were Lenore’s words, not Doug’s. However, it is interesting that Lenore seems to think that businesses should not be allowed to leave an area when government policies and economic conditions collapse. Perhaps the auto industry in Detroit should have been morally captive to continue producing cars and paying union salaries, at a loss, until every last business asset had been consumed back into the community? It seems that Lenore expects corporations to have a charitable soul, and to engage in self-sacrifice for the employees under their care and protection, almost shepherd-like or church-like. I’m curious what economic theory or moral theory Lenore would appeal to in order to establish this vision. Would the same principles also bind employees to continue to work for failing companies, taking a series of reductions in pay until the company is finally shuttered? Or would employees continue to be allowed to voluntarily leave for greener pastures elsewhere?

    If Lenore is trying to say that businessmen, as people, ought to act fairly toward their employees, then there is no argument. Fairness would mean entering into realistic contracts that are sensitive to changing economic conditions. Many seem to have the notion that they are owed something beyond their contract, and at the expense of capital owners, as if charity was an implied part of every employment contract. Class envy is the other leg of the greedlust stool.

    Lenore also takes a swipe at mega-churches and televangelists as if they were representative of the broader Christian Church, and as if they’ve never faced any criticism from within the faith. Perhaps Lenore’s limited knowledge of the Church is the result of having been informed only by watching those TV evangelists and Popes. It would seem to explain the misperceptions. For the sake of intellectual fairness, Lenore may want to dig a little deeper on the subject.

    Lenore also said:

    Jesus Christ Himself was campaigning against the institutions that were betraying his brethren. So this “taking” is nothing new to human history. But some organizations are better at it than others. And I am certain that Christ Himself would be appalled at what has been “taken” from people in His name.

    Lenore needs to show a reference where Jesus was appalled by giving, or where He campaigned against tithing to the Church. Jesus witnessed rich people voluntarily give offerings, and a widow voluntarily giving all the money she had into the treasury. Jesus completely missed His opportunity to speak against any taking in that scene, because there was none. Jesus didn’t rebuke the widow or make her go recover her pennies. Rather He complimented her devotion and selflessness above the rest. So far, Lenore seems to be as good at expositing Christ’s character as expositing Doug’s. Which is to say, not very.

  31. “It seems Lenore has chosen to ignore the reminder that Church giving is 100% voluntary. Repeatedly calling it a taking won’t change reality. The Church is not the IRS.”

    There but for the “taking” through tithing do clergy exist. That is a fact. The govt may “take” through the IRS for it’s sustenance, but rest assured, the clergy “takes” from tithing.

    Again, the Katecho distinguishes the Evangelicals from the Vaticans and from the Televangilists and then from the greater worldwide Christian community, of which, by the way, I am very much a part of. Church giving is voluntary, and so is living in America. Alluding to not being a part of any of the corrupt parts of the “Church” which Katecho broadly defines, then am I to assume that you speak of personal Christianity? Well then OK, but the “Church” that I speak of, in the institutionalized sense, operates outside the parameters of the IRS with the freedom to be politically active and judgmental on a society. Here are a couple of points that are indisputable about the “Church”:

    1. They acquire wealth for their sustenance through taking of funds from an outside source. The fact that that source is voluntary doesn’t matter. People who buy stock in companies do it voluntarily also.
    2. They don’t pay taxes to any government.
    3. They have the free will, albeit through the individual “Church’s” interpretation of God’s Word, to operate in any way they choose. In other words, they are self governed. They can discriminate, influence and most importantly, wield power. They can also do great good throughout the world.

    My point again about the Pastors comments was that they seemed ironic. And because I comment on what the Pastor has written, Katecho thinks this somehow is connected to how I feel about Jesus Christ. Wow, how arrogant to think that the Pastor’s words rank so equally to the word of God!
    ———————————————————————–
    “Lenore is not a reliable judge of Wilson’s soul on this issue. Particularly since Doug never said that businessmen never lie, or that greedlust among corporations played no role.”
    Katecho is absolutely correct in stating that I am not a reliable judge of Wilson’s soul. My comment about the “talk show side” of the Pastor having more influence on his soul was flip. I am NO judge of anyone’s soul.
    ———————————————————————–
    “it is interesting that Lenore seems to think that businesses should not be allowed to leave an area when government policies and economic conditions collapse.”

    I did not say that at all. I believe business can do whatever they want that is legal in our free market system. I never stated that they couldn’t. I just stated that the exit of businesses contributed to the demise of Detroit. Again, the Pastors article is the one that blamed everyone else. And Katecho seems to blame the government for why the businesses left. I have no disagreement with ALL of the aspects of why Detroit has collapsed. I simply, and I will say it again, was surprised at the slanted viewpoint of the Pastor who blamed other aspects solely for Detroit’s collapse. Many of the Pastors comments are true and valid, I was commenting on his style and accusatory tone that blamed only certain elements of the demise and mostly blamed the government and unions. They are part of the blame, but not all of the blame.
    But it seems Katecho keeps missing my point.
    ———————————————————————–
    “Perhaps the auto industry in Detroit should have been morally captive to continue producing cars and paying union salaries, at a loss, until every last business asset had been consumed back into the community?”

    That is quite a complex statement Katecho. Hmmm…so you rather have the higher moral ground (sarcasm, which I need to spell out to you) of an American company go to a communist country and have “every last” business asset go to their community? Again, companies can do whatever they want. I’m just referring back to the blame game by the Pastor.
    ———————————————————————–
    “It seems that Lenore expects corporations to have a charitable soul, and to engage in self-sacrifice for the employees under their care and protection, almost shepherd-like or church-like. I’m curious what economic theory or moral theory Lenore would appeal to in order to establish this vision. Would the same principles also bind employees to continue to work for failing companies, taking a series of reductions in pay until the company is finally shuttered? Or would employees continue to be allowed to voluntarily leave for greener pastures elsewhere?”

    I don’t expect either, nor do I have any particular economic theory. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous or arrogant to think I was an expert on the economy. Since apparently you and the Pastor think you both are it would be interesting to see some credentials. But I will say that perhaps ALL of the above contributed to the demise of Detroit. I have no expectations of corporate charity, or loyalty from employees. I accept that a series of events led to the demise of Detroit coupled with economic globalization. Again, everyone is to blame, and no one is to blame. The Pastors words, however, were all about blame in one direction.
    ———————————————————————–
    “If Lenore is trying to say that businessmen, as people, ought to act fairly toward their employees, then there is no argument. Fairness would mean entering into realistic contracts that are sensitive to changing economic conditions. Many seem to have the notion that they are owed something beyond their contract, and at the expense of capital owners, as if charity was an implied part of every employment contract. Class envy is the other leg of the greedlust stool.”

    “Many seem to have the notion that they are owed something beyond their contract.” Katecho, where is the evidence of this statement? You use a sweeping generality about contracts and fairness. “Class envy”? Where is the evidence of anyone feeling that. People just wanted to go to work and get a paycheck so they could feed their kids and pay the rent. There is no evidence that “greedlust” exists. Anyone who even thinks that must have it in their own heart…but forgive me for making assumptions like you have.
    As far as contracts: every contract can be looked at with the principle of supply and demand. The “capital owners” when given more supply will pay less and vice versa. When American companies saw that they could find a plethora of labor popultions overseas and outside US borders, they seized the opportunity and skilled labor could no longer survive the competition. The collapse of unions and their ability to hold on to the established contracts were surpassed by the a new supply of labor. So they lost out, manufacturing in the US changed, communities like Detroit that were based on one industry went into decline. But this was not “greedlust”, or “class envy”. It was a simple change in the supply and demand of labor. It’s science really and human behavior. There is nothing new about this and it is just history repeating itself in a modern time period. It just happened this way in Detroit mostly because they only had one industry holding it together. People were making a certain amount of money to support living in the United States. They contributed in building companies and they did their best to negotiate for their side. CEO making unprecedented amounts of money AND taking unprecedented risks with company funds were a part of the equation also.
    The tax base diminished and the city became corrupt and went broke, period. And that “taking” government that the Pastor calls it, bailed the big companies out. Why? So there wouldn’t be civil unrest when people had no money to live on. The terrible “taking” government is there to try and keep the society functioning and sustainable when the free market system runs into a snag.

    More irony as I see it:If Jesus walked the streets of Detroit, which I’m sure he is doing on a regular basis, he wouldn’t be saying, “Oh those terrible greedlust class envy unions, they did this too you Detroit”, or “those terrible Capitol holders, they did this to you”…Jesus would probably say to both parties, “Have faith, good things will come again.”
    ———————————————————————–
    “Lenore also takes a swipe at mega-churches and televangelists as if they were representative of the broader Christian Church, and as if they’ve never faced any criticism from within the faith. Perhaps Lenore’s limited knowledge of the Church is the result of having been informed only by watching those TV evangelists and Popes. It would seem to explain the misperceptions. For the sake of intellectual fairness, Lenore may want to dig a little deeper on the subject.”

    “Perhaps” I have limited knowledge of the “Church” you say.…Perhaps I do in your opinion. Again the “Church” is term you use Katecho, to lump the “Church” all together, or to distinguish from the “deeper” part of it. So there is true Christianity, according to you, and according to all individuals who claim they specifically know what Jesus Christ meant, taught, said and did. And then there is commercial Christianity? Is that the form that reaches billions of people worldwide with leaders like “those TV evangelists and Popes”. Wow! So then the “takers” are just the ones in the “commercial Christianity” business. And now I have learned from you that that segment of Christianity has “faced” “criticism” from “within the faith”. That’s impressive. For the sake of “intellectual fairness” tell me then, just who is PRACTICING real Christianity these days? People who are Christian political commentators? I’m sorry Katecho, but the terms “greedlust” and “class envy” are neither intellectual, or Christian. Perhaps you should “dig a little deeper” into that question.

    To conclude, a lot of what the Pastor wrote, the part about defaulting, is very true and I agree with it, which is why I commented at the end of my first post that it was a good article. I thought he was a political commentator who had an interesting viewpoint about how defaulting never ends once it starts. But when someone comments by throwing blame at groups as he did, I thought his point of view had lost credibility. That is just my opinion. Also, using terms that reflect religious principles and blaming groups of people is something that Jesus Christ clearly, in my opinion, taught us not to do, especially when calling people and entities “takers” while being a part of a “taking” entity, tithing or not. Shall I spell it out further? I don’t know his “Church” affiliation in particular, but the “clergy” take from their parishioners “in Gods name” to exist. They are still human beings living off of someone else’s money, period. And, by the way, I don’t necessarily think that is wrong. I give all the time and want Churches to exist. I just think it is hypocritical when someone criticizes another for “taking”.
    ———————————————————————–
    Final thought:
    The church is like the government. It takes, it gives, it yields power. It’s income and wealth go up and down according to the times and circumstances of human activity and behavior. None of that has anything to do with Jesus Christ who stands apart from all human constructs that are subject to immense shortcomings.

    Pastor and Clergy in general don’t work in factories and don’t know what it feels like to support a family, pay for health care and struggle in the same way working people do in America. To use terms like “greedlust” and “class envy” are poor choices of words that smack of prejudice and contempt, more things that Christ warned us about in ourselves.
    Pastor and Clergy in general don’t take risks of capitol owners, so don’t know what those responsibilities are and can only speculate. Perhaps, the Pastor has been critical of capitol owners as you said he has, I don’t know. I only read this one article of his.

    Perhaps through this discussion, Katecho, we could spend more time thinking about the spiritual needs of all people who suffered through the demise of a great city like Detroit. You accused me of “kicking the church when it was down” which was your unfortunate interpretation of my viewpoint. I never even came close to saying anything like that. But perhaps we shouldn’t “kick the people” of Detroit when they are down. Maybe it’s time to think about what Jesus would do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>