Too early to be thinking about Christmas?
Too early to be thinking about Christmas? Not if you were hoping to purchase the fastest and most expensive Porche ever built—the 911 GT2 RS. It just sold out less than two months after debuting. Price tag? $329,000. Merry Christmas and a big red bow tied on to the 131 Americans who bought it.
Never mind the recession. Reports show that luxury items are once again ringing the cash registers in the U.S. “Consumers are buying more luxury items but spending remains tight for everyday essentials such as food and dental care, a USA TODAY analysis finds, suggesting a growing divide between haves and have-nots. Purchases of TVs, jewelry, recreational vehicles and pet supplies are growing robustly, government data show. At the same time, spending on medical care, day care and education is down in the dumps” (http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010-10-27-RW_consumer27_ST_N.htm).
The yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots in this nation is widening. And it does not bode well for our future. One in 8 Americans is now on food stamps. At some point within last year, 1.6 million men, women and children (including 170,000 families) “experienced homelessness”—a 7% jump from the previous year. Voice of America this week quoted Henry Freedman, director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. “Freedman says America's growing income gap could create a two-tiered society that loses its sense of community. ‘People struggling to get by, struggling to survive on the one hand, susceptible to demagoguery; and people on the other hand who put their resources to be separate from society, safe from society rather than participating fully in society,’ he said” (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/US-Income-Disparity-Highest-Ever-105708773.html).
Did you catch that—“a two-tiered society that loses its sense of community”? The wealthy growing more isolated, the poor growing more resentful The Apostle James predicted just such an economically fractured society before the return of Christ: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! . . . Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.” And then to his impoverished readers, James appeals: “You must be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:1, 4, 5 NKJV; 7 NLT).
Will our politicians deliver us from this social fracture? Hardly. They have just spent a record-setting $2 billion campaigning for next week’s election. How then will economic disparity be confronted? I’m not a prophet—but I read the prophets. Watch the labor movement globally. What France has experienced these past two weeks (and Greece earlier)—pent up rage by the lower class—can happen here, too. A century ago this prediction was made: “The trade unions will be the cause of the most terrible violence that has ever been seen among human beings” (Letter 99, 1904).
What shall we do? Let the church of Christ rise up with the compassion of her Lord and reach out to the disenfranchised and economically marginalized. Benton Harbor is 12 miles away. Our fledgling Harbor of Hope congregation desperately needs volunteers. Call Pastor Walter (849-9089). It isn’t new Porches that our world is dying for want of. It is men and women possessed with Jesus’ passion and brave enough to attempt to make a difference. Before he returns. Until he returns.