not going awayBy
The economic landscape of America is changing rapidly at present and it is having and will have significant ramifications for the western church. We would do well to be aware of the trends and be thinking about not only the impact current economic developments will have on the church, but more importantly, the impact the church will have on a hobbled economy–at least those participating in the economy.
One of the most disturbing trends at the lower socioeconomic strata in the U.S. is the huge number of people on food stamps. With a 74% increase since 2007 and the current number of people participating in the program is some 15% of the population. (ht) While this puts a strain on government coffers–not the topic of this blog–there is growing concern that these food stamps will contribute less and less to the daily needs of recipients due to growing inflation–especially in the key “core inflation” category.
Another troubling trend is the foreclosure issue that has been an albatross for the U.S. since 2008. This key factor continues to be a drag on the whole of the economy with some signs of an uptick in foreclosures on the way.
A third issue to address quickly is the massive concerns surrounding the developed world right now–specifically in Europe. With Greece being an ongoing concern, Italy is now moving to the forefront of the economic discussion. The concerns for Italy make it look like a whale in comparison to Greece being a minnow. Many are referring to Italy as “too big to fail, but too big to save.” If Italy, or Greece, or Spain, or Portugal were to succumb to the debt pressures facing them and not be able to finance their debt, the ramifications are significant, but unknown.
So what does the church do? Well this is not intended to be a doom and gloom view, but it seems essential that we are aware of the macro and micro issues that impact both existing and would-be disciples. The combination of the above factors and others should impact how we minister, allocate resources, live on mission in our local and global context, etc. More on this in the future, but for now I will link back to a series of posts on things the church would do well to consider.
Also, here’s a first-hand account of one living in poverty and the food-stamp system.