Friday, July 19, 2013

Economic downturn, depression, tomato, tomato. Developing a Depression mindset

I haven't done an essay on the economy in a while. I've been watching...observing....mulling. What is happening to us in America (and all over the world) is really interesting.

For those of us who know the world is not our home, we are told many times in scripture not to cling to it. (Galatians 6:14, 1 Timothy 6:7) and not to conform to it (Romans 12:2). After all, satan rules it, (2 Corinthians 4:4) the world is enemy territory, (Ephesians 6:10-18) and our vaporous life will soon leave it. (James 4:14).

However, we still have to live here until the rapture or death. So we are of the world but we are not in it. (John 17:14–19). No we are not holograms, lol, but we are islands of holiness dwelling in the midst of a pool of sin.

I know my treasure is in heaven but I still make great efforts to be a good steward of what the Lord has given me in terms of goods and money. (2 Thessalonians 3:10, Philippians 2:4). And as long as I am being faithful to manage the goods and money then I will have more time and money and blessings to enable me to be a good steward also of the gifts of grace He gave. (1 Peter 4:10).

I've always been frugal, it is in my nature. Excessive spending is not in me. Buying things that are not practical is not in me. Even if someone gave me $30 to spend on anything I wanted, I'd use it to pay a bill or groceries. About the only spending I engage in that doesn't directly go to keeping me alive, clothed and in a home with 4 walls are books. I have little money but what I have I like to use for other people.

Because of reading the bible, I know that as time goes on the economy will get worse and worse. Oh, sure, any economy has cycles of ups and downs, but over the long haul the general trend is down. How do I know this? The world is dying. It is cursed. All relationships, projects, economies, and governments are drenched with this curse. None are righteous. (Romans 5:12-21, 1 John 2:17; Matthew 24:35).

This downward trend accelerated dramatically after the presidential election of 2008, a process that began right before the November election in Sept-Oct. In effect, the global economy crashed on or about October 1, 2008, and has never recovered. Though economists continue to call what is happening a 'recession' or even insultingly, a 'recovery,' I call it what it is, a Depression.

I always thought that with my natural tendency to frugality and a long life of having done without that I'd transition to any economic depression rather easily. I was wrong.

There is a huge difference between frugality as a choice and developing a Depression mindset due to necessity.

What happens to a person who dwells in a long-term state of want, need, constriction, frustration, and fear? To the unsaved, it causes a severely de-stabilizing effect. They want and need something but know not what it is (what they are looking for is peace with God through reconciliation with His Son). That is why they had previously sought to fill that hole where peace goes with the things of this world. When the things of this world are no longer available to them because of drought-like economic conditions, they panic because even the false, temporary pseudo-peace they gained from the things of this world are now unattainable. There are two responses to that panic: turning to God and find that peace, or turning to self and go deeper into the dark hole of unfulfillment. They wonder, is this life just a long, heartbreaking quest for the unattainable? An economic depression brings that hidden question closer to the surface.

The psyche changes during prolonged periods of want and scarcity. This means that societal structure changes too, because the family structure changes. From "Digital History: The Depression" we read:

The Depression had a powerful impact on families. It forced couples to delay marriage and drove the birthrate below the replacement level for the first time in American history. The divorce rate fell, for the simple fact that many couples could not afford to maintain separate households or to pay legal fees. Still, rates of desertion soared. By 1940, there were 1.5 million married women living apart from their husbands. More than 200,000 vagrant children wandered the country as a result of the break-up of their families.

The Depression inflicted a heavy psychological toll on jobless men. With no wages to punctuate their ability, many men lost power as primary decision makers. Large numbers of men lost self-respect, became immobilized and stopped looking for work, while others turned to alcohol or became self-destructive or abusive to their families.

In contrast to men, many women saw their status rise during the Depression. To supplement the family income, married women entered the work force in large numbers. Although most women worked in menial occupations, the fact that they were employed and bringing home paychecks elevated their position within the family and gave them a say in family decisions.

That aforementioned 'say in the family decisions' plays into satan's hands. Men and women were cursed in Genesis 3:16 at the Fall. "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Women's tendency from that time on will was to usurp the headship of the husband (Ephesians 5:23) and the tendency of the husband has been either be to capitulate, or to become a dictator.

Last week, the NY Times reported that a similar gender gap in jobs during this 'downturn' is occurring and I noticed a similarity to the changes in family structure in the First Great Depression. One year after it began in 2008, women held 49.99 percent of all jobs. Even today, women are getting jobs at a much faster rate than men, though jobs overall are still scarce. Economists insist that the "start of the recovery" was June 2009. This statistic notes: "Women gained back nearly 90 percent of the jobs they lost in the recession and men gained back 64 percent, from the start of the recovery to June 2013." So over the last four years women have gained back an economic power and men have remained stagnant.

As we saw in the first Great Depression, when men don't have a job for a long time it changes the mental mindset, it changes the family dynamic, and this changes the societal structure. (Because the family, based on marriage, is the basic unit of society).

That is the second major cultural shift when a society enters long period of want. Marital roles are upended. The first was the stress on a person who wonders where the next meal is coming from and begins to panic.

For the Christian who truly relies on Jesus for all things to be added to them, hopefully you are not panicking. He said in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." The 'these things' are mentioned in previous verses: food, water/beverages, and clothes. In other words, the necessities of life. The passage says 'do not worry.'

I admit that is easier said than done. I rely on the Lord a great deal and worry only minimally. This is because He has never failed to provide for me. But also I do not have children. I know that if I did, my worries over providing for them would make relying peacefully on the provision of Jesus a challenge.

However the mindset of properly stewarding my resources does take effort, if not stress. I plan, think, budget, and look ahead constantly to ensure that what I have goes a long way. I put pout of my mind the things I don't have and can't afford. I constantly review my week to see that I am attaining a good balance between stewardship of the things the Lord has provided for myself and making sure that I am cheerfully ministering in love, whether I tithe, give, spend time, or work for someone else.

Mary Owlsey recalled life during the First Great Depression:

"I knew one family there in Oklahoma City, a man and woman and seven children lived in a hole in the ground. You'd be surprised how nice it was, how nice they kept it. They had chairs and tables and beds back in that hole. And they had the dirt all braced upon there, just like a cave"

Las Vegas hole dwellers, Source
Pauline Kael a well-known film critic, was a college student at the University of California at Berkeley during the Depression.

"When I attended Berkeley in 1936, so many of the kids had actually lost their fathers. They had wandered off in disgrace because they couldn't support their families. Other fathers had killed themselves so the family could have the insurance. Families had totally broken down. Each father took it as his personal failure. These middle class men apparently had no social sense of what was going on, so they killed themselves.It was still the Depression. There were kids who didn't have a place to sleep, huddling under bridges on the campus, I had a scholarship, but there were times when I didn't have food." (Source)"

David Blankenhorn wrote in his book, Fatherless America,

"The United States is becoming an increasingly fatherless society. A generation ago, an American child could reasonably expect to grow up with his or her father. Today, an American child can reasonably expect not to. Fatherlessness is now approaching a rough parity with fatherhood as a defining feature of American childhood."

The Washington Times reported in their article from a few months ago, "Fathers Disappear from households across America," that 1 in 3 kids in America live in a household without a father.
source

Psychology Today published an article in 2010 called "The Psychic Toll of the Great Recession".
"There is little doubt that financial struggles and uncertainty take a significant toll on people. They must confront the daily stress that comes from being unable to make ends meet with few prospects for the immediate future. This stress isn't just psychological, but can also exact real physical costs in terms of poor sleep and diet, increased illness and injury, and, even worse, alcohol and drug abuse as a means of coping with the stress."

"With each day of unemployment, people's belief in themselves atrophies, causing them to question how capable they are of surmounting this immense hurdle. Their faith in the ability of the economy to recover is also shaken. And, of course, their trust in our government is lost as well. The result is a crisis of confidence."

And there you have it. The LORD shakes them so that the only place they have to go is looking up. And as for us believers, we must, I repeat, must display the confidence we possess in the Lord. Faith in Jesus means knowing He will take care of His own, in every way. As people increasingly develop a Depression mindset, and it wears on them and they begin to panic, how much of a balm can we be to them in our placid trust of a wondrous Jesus who provides for His children?e The purpose, I am convinced, for this current, and last, time of sever restriction and privation before the rapture is to strip people away from their comforts. They are of the world, but let us give them a glimpse of the better world, the world of Jesus and His kingdom.

After the rapture the constrictions and privation in place now will blossom into pure hell. People will work all day just to procure a loaf of bread.
Bread line during First Great Depression, NYC
They will be so desperate for faith in something, anyone, that they will believe the lie of the antichrist when the LORD sends the delusion. Oh, please develop your Depression mindset now, and fast. It is one of trust in the Lord for His provision, reliance on the Holy Spirit to enable us to properly shepherd the provisions He does send, and an attitude of peace and calm in the midst of economic turmoil. How that will stand out to the lost person will be like a floodlight into the eyes of an alligator hiding in the muddy waters.

Lo, the lilies of the field!
Reginald Heber, hymn

Lo, the lilies of the field!
How their leaves instruction yield!
Hark to nature’s lesson given
By the blessed birds of heaven!
Every bush and tufted tree
Warbles trust and piety:—
Mortals, banish doubt and sorrow,
God provideth for the morrow.

One there lives, whose guardian eye
Guides our earthly destiny;
One there lives, who, Lord of all,
Keeps His children lest they fall:
Pass we, then, in love and praise,
Trusting Him through all our days,
Free from doubt and faithless sorrow,—
God provideth for the morrow.

-----------------------

Further reading:

Bountiful Baskets, affordable produce of great quality

Detroit files for bankruptcy protection

Russian economy becomes biggest in Europe

The One Bubble you may not have heard Pop (Baltic Dry Index)

Europe raises pressure on Israel (boycott)

3 comments:

  1. Wow, especially the analysis of how this affects family structure, starting with the husband/father. Well done, Elizabeth.

    When I first got saved, I found a section of Prov 30 that really ministered to my heart:

    7 Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die : 8 Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches ; Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD ?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

    I actually pray this as a prayer, and have since I first got saved. Just like the Lord's prayer - give us this day our daily bread... deliver us from evil.

    -carolyn

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  2. I just found this blog amd it is a blessing

    You wrote: "There are two responses to that panic: turning to God and find that peace, or turning to self and go deeper into the dark hole of unfulfillment."

    I actually believe there to be a third response. People will turn to the state to save them. I believe this is Satan's goal with the antichrist world government. He is the poison that is the cure. We have become self reliant and an orchestrated crash will leave us reeling for a lifeline and Satan will be ready and willing to throw is one for the "small" price of worship.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi anonymous,

    I agree. the State will figure more and more prominently as each day passes. We have seen this in America. We saw this in Nazi Germany from 1930-1940. The antichrist will be the pinnacle of that outward seeking of some sort of lifeline, redemption, fulfillment. seeking. Ultimately, anyone who relies on anything aside from Jesus Christ for salvation is still lost.

    you said, "Satan will be ready and willing to throw is one for the "small" price of worship." Extremely well put. Your statement covers Revelation 13 in a nutshell!

    ReplyDelete

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