Thursday, February 19, 2009

White Noise

You've heard the term "white noise," haven't you? It's the soundtrack of everyday living. For those living in the city it is the constant sound of traffic outside the office window or the whirr of a copy machine just down the hallway. Country-dwellers have white noise, too. It's the sounds of the birds chirping and dogs barking and log trucks driving too fast down the country road.

White noise is the sound of rain or surf or wind. Beautiful sounds that have become so commonplace that we miss it. Sounds have become distractions - good or bad - that keep us from hearing much of anything with clarity...even the white noise.

Let's slow down a little and sift through the noise so we can hear the sounds. You'll hear someone compliment you. You'll hear someone ask for help. You'll hear God's creation going about life. You'll hear your kids laugh. You might even hear yourself think!

The soundtrack to everyday living is really a beautiful sound...if we'll just listen rather than try to drown it out with more sounds.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Obama's Stimulus Package

Hooray for the House Republicans! Not one of them voted for Obama’s $790B stimulus package. I’m glad they had the strength to do it and I hope their constituents realize what heroes they are.

Boo for all but seven House Democrats! Only seven had the courage to stand against the administration. Two hundred forty-six Democrats voted in lock-step with Obama’s “bipartisan” coalition.

Unfortunately, political maneuvering was more popular among the elected than economic strategy. But in the end, economy will suffer because of this and the politicians will be rewarded/punished by the voters according to today’s vote. So we can be hopeful that the politics that divide (i.e., liberalism) will once again go into hibernation. We can only hope it occurs soon – say, the 2010 mid-term Congressional election and the 2012 Presidential election.

The only hope that the stimulus package will not pass is in the hands of the Senate, which votes later today. Not much hope, huh? But the Democrats will need help from three Republicans for it to pass. Come on, Senate Republicans, vote no!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Obama's Stimulus Package

My undergraduate degree is in Economics and Finance. That does not make me an expert but it does give me a level of understanding and historical context. The Keynesian economic model is the one being pursued by the new administration. The idea is for the government to spend more money as a way to grow the economy. History has shown that this results in inflation, a devaluing currency, and little else. On the flip side, the economy can thrive when businesses are given the incentive to expand. Tax relief to corporations of all sizes, shapes, and colors will result in more jobs, more people working, working people making more money, more money being spent in the economic cycle.

The well-used proverb is correct: give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Adapted to our current "stimulating" situation: give a person money he did not earn and he needs another one tomorrow. That is also a cycle; one of dependence upon the government. A friend of mine was describing a recent disaster out of which people were “forced” to steal diapers and baby formula. The friend’s answer to the problem was the government: “If you can’t trust your government to take care of you, who can you trust?”

The Lord?

Peter wrote in his first letter to struggling believers: “Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5: 7) Jesus said that he would be able to identify believers by their benevolence toward those in need – not the government’s benevolence but the individual’s benevolence. The Bible also tells us that a motive of love is the mark of Christ-followers.

The answer to the needs of people around us is for believers to faithfully tithe and for churches to use those funds in local and global ministry. The government can help by greasing the wheels of the economic engine by enticing businesses to expand. The free market economy will right itself; there’s no need to panic. Just be faithful to the Lord and his church.