|O LORD FORGIVE AND DELIVER US|
There is a Christian culture of prosperity theology in America whereby as Christians we expect that God will bless and prosper us financially and with belongings. We take our position from the Patriarchs Abraham and King David whom God have blessed abundantly, and we too shall be blessed as well. Our God is indeed a good God, and I believe that God will bless us and will satisfy the basic necessities of life, ie we will not grow hungry nor lack. Following the examples of USA, the churches here in Singapore has paid their pastors generously eg Pastor Joseph Prince receiving a salary of more than 500K per year apart from his other ministry revenues. It is to show that God can and will prosper us as Christians with the Pastor being the prime example. We are supposed to be the “Head”, and not the “Tail”. However, God gave Israel Manna only for the day, ie only for what is required presently whilst we have kept wealth far beyond our basic needs and have horde up wealth in our banks. Christians often interpret the bible to fit their theology eg in condemning gays rather than let the contextually obvious and logical interpretation of the bible speaks for itself.
I believe in Prosperity Theology in the sense that God as a good Father/Mother will take care of us, our going out and coming in, the basic survival needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and work but not necessary a life as a luxury queen. Jesus and His disciples are examples, they were well fed and had plenty yet they wore simple clothing (not gold laced ones), and stayed in meek and humble abode and not big palaces. They did not bring along with them camels laden with Gold. This is what is meant in Mat 5:5 in being meek and humble, trusting in God in a gentle way for our needs instead of aggressively pursuing and focusing on wealth.
The traditional remark “poor as a church mouse” reflects negatively on the church in perpetuating a spirit of lack. The church has however gone to the other extreme, and now we have “rich as a Televangelist”. Who pays for these wealth and extravagance? It appears that our wealth is not from heaven’s gold mine but from borrowed wealth. Our currency notes states “In God we trust”, and therefore Christians has claimed that God has blessed America to make it the most riches and powerful nation on earth. However, heavenly blessings are free, it is freely given and received by grace. Yet, the wealth and prosperity of America is leveraged upon debt and spending out of future provisions and obligations. As a nation we may be rich but the wealth is borrowed and we are spending far more than we produce and spending not on the economy infrastructure but on the military. America is a country in deep debt, an accumulated debt of 5.7 trillion when Bush took over in 2001, and now closer to 11 trillion due to the massive military spending which do not yield future economic benefits. The financial crisis has made the situation much more critical with a current deficit in 2009 of more than 1 trillion dollars annually continuing over the next few years due to the stimulus package. The future looks far grimier with an estimated 57.8 trillion of unfunded future obligations for social security and Medicare over the next 75 years exasperated by the retirement of the baby boomers. The large and increasing amounts of debt raises questions of how the debt will be funded ie who will lend us such massive sums of money and buys the American treasury Bonds. It was no coincidence that Hillary Clinton first overseas trip as secretary of State was to China.
On an individual basis, we may deemed ourselves wealthy and prosperous on account of the growth in the value of our properties and stock assets. However, these valuations are based on the US dollar which is freely available and at a low interest rates thus pushing up the values of the houses and stock market as everyone wants to get rich quickly. We have a problem of greed, the desire to have and much more. It is not surprising that Mat 6:24 speaks of Christians serving the master of wealth. Once our focus is on earthly belonging and wealth, to build our large cathedrals and empire on earth, we lost our Godly and heavenly focus. That was the main problem with the anti-gay movement who have used this issue for the purpose of fund raising and creating the need for the very existence of their Christian Organization to stand up for these perceived gay threat. The basis of our wealth, the strength of the US dollar is now being severely undermined due to the very large debt we carry and the exponential rate this debt is increasing.
Jesus rarely spoke about gaining wealth and prosperity as a priority. He never mentioned blessings for the “poor in worldly belongings” at the Mount of the Sermon. He did not give the poor money and send them on their way rich with talents of gold, but that emphasized that their real prosperity, their real wealth and inheritance will be in heaven. The bible focus is heavenly. The first blessedness in Mat 4:3 is being blessed when we see our spiritual lack and poverty and the need for a Messiah. We have instead aggressively pursued worldly belonging, rather than be in a state of blessedness in being meek (Mat 4:5) or contented with his/her current lot in life. For those who are meek or gently contented with what they have in life as opposed to aggressively pursuing wealth, it is they who will receive and inherit the earth. Why? Those who are aggressive and strive for wealth will no doubt inherit large amounts of wealth on earth, but those who are heavenly focused and contented with what they have, will one day rule over the entire earth as their inheritance.
The first of the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 begin receiving or eligible for social security retirement benefits in 2008 if they had opted for early retirement at 62. There are 80 million baby boomers, their impact disproportionate because unlike their parents they had far fewer children. A a result by 2017, the payroll taxes flowing into the social security system would be enough to cover the expenditure. The trust fund created to pay beyond 2017 until 2041 out of the extra money from the taxes less payout have been apparently used by the Government for other purposes. The impact to Medicare, a medical care for Americans 65 years old and above is even greater. Total Medicare spending reached $440 billion for fiscal year 2007, or 16% of all federal spending. According to the 2008 report by the board of trustees for Medicare and Social Security, Medicare will spend more than it brings in from taxes this year (2008). Therefore, by 2017, America will face a financial Tsunami far greater than the 2009 recession, a storm that will come much earlier if the treasury bonds loses its demand. At the end, the US Dollar will continue to lose its value, traded less as the de-facto reserve currency, and be held at the bank vaults of major countries a lot less. The treasury debt will still be increasing, albeit at a much higher interest rate.
Whilst Christians in Singapore and USA continues to wage an aggressive stance against gays whom they consider will push the nation to cross the line ordained by God, by our prosperity theology whereby we insist on our God ordained life to live in luxury, we have crossed in America deep into the land of debt and possibly beyond the line of no return. The irony of it all is that the Christian Right in the 80s, and 90s wanted to return America to a “moral” nation with a Christian Right Government. They succeeded in ruling for more than a decade, but their religious mantra of God, Gun, and Gays did not bring us any moral revival but plunged the nation into a very costly wars, immoral abuse of prisoners, financial abuse and greed, all funded doubling the debt to 10 trillion dollars and the greatest recession since the great depression. The rich became richer even rewarded with “retention bonuses” even when they bought in multibillion losses, but the poor became much poorer with many having their homes foreclosed and without social security. The recent California massive budget issue is a foretaste of what will happen to the entire nation with rising unemployment, the welfare for the sick, needy and poor being suspended in order to balance the budget. It is time to pray, for forgiveness and for deliverance.
Your Mercy Never Fails