Category Archives: economics

post election post

After reading this article in a world renowned newspaper, the Merced Sun-Star, I felt compelled to address something that has actually been on my mind since election day.  The Christian community isn’t known for being silent over political matters, particularly relating to gay marriage or abortion.  While I think it’s somewhat of a travesty that we have chosen to throw our full weight and support behind only two issues and neglect others, my intent here isn’t to diminish that support or comment on what other issues we should be talking about.  So, I wasn’t surprised to see church folk proudly displaying “Yes on 8” signs on street corners in the days leading up to November 4th.  I wasn’t surprised to see the Christian community largely supporting the Republican Party and the subsequent disapproval of Obama’s victory.  I was surprised, however, to see the extent of the hostility and animosity Christians displayed at the outcome of the presidential election… and I’m still surprised that so many Christians seemingly place so much hope in a pagan nation.  I was further surprised to see the animosity Christians had toward even their Christian brothers and sisters.  Politics and elections seem to bring out people’s true colors.  I don’t expect Christians to be required to agree on anything non-essential to the Gospel, but I do expect Christians to treat each other with dignity and respect.  We are to bear witness to the transforming power of Christ by the way we love each other, NOT by the way we vote or “stand up for what we believe in” at the polls.  So, to spew venom at another Christian over their thoughts on politics is absolutely inexcusable.  If I have done this to any of my brothers or sisters, I am truly sorry…

With that said, on with the “post election post” and what inspired me to write this anyway…  If you read the article I linked to you above, something should immediately alarm you.  What’s alarming to me is that several times above I referenced to “the Christian community,” which can only be defined here as “white evangelicals.”  I have completely neglected my black brothers and sisters in Christ with my definition.  What alarms me is while white Christians were sickened by the election of Obama, black Christians rejoiced.  While white Christians were sitting in Church on November 9th in sackcloth and ashes, repenting on behalf of the nation’s choice for president, black Christians were blowing rams horns.  How can it be that we are so divided?  What is extremely disturbing is we are not just a reflection of the larger society’s division over race, we are even worse.  As Martin Luther King said over 50 years ago (and articulated VERY well in the book Divided by Faith), Sunday is the most segregated day of the week.  This fact remains and is weighing on my heart today.  Election Day, unfortunately, reveals this divide.

What I hope to be giving here is a desperate plea to Christians everywhere, especially to those who were born with contrasting skin colors, is to be united by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Don’t seek unity over a political party, economic policy or state Proposition… for in those things we will always be divided.  Yet, these issues pale in comparison to what really matters, which is the Gospel of Christ.

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i probably won’t vote

This is a continuation of the conversation I was having in the comments section of my last post. Particularly, I wanted to address the statement “Barack Obama gives people hope.” Please understand, I don’t want to diminish the hope that he may give someone who may finally have, as Janey put it, “hope in a system that has wronged them or left them out.” I think it’s great that people (like my friend Janey) see the failures of the current system and have hope in change, whether or not that change is delivered by Obama or someone else. But, I guess this is an attempt to explain why my hope in Barack Obama or ANY political figure is extremely tempered, if not entirely absent.

I probably won’t vote in this years election. “What? Why?” they say, looking at me dumbfounded… well, because I just really don’t care that much. Even if I tried, I couldn’t get excited about either candidate and I can’t get fired up about any topic of debate among conservatives and liberals (except maybe for the conversation I had with Phil the other day about why I think supply-side economics is entirely bogus). “But people in other countries don’t have the opportunity to vote, so you should!” Still, can’t buy the rationale that ‘you should do this because other people can’t.’

You ever have thoughts about something that you can’t entirely articulate yourself? This is sort of one of those things for me. Luckily, I came across this post by Greg Boyd. Minus the comment that Barack’s speech was “the most brilliantly crafted and powerfully delivered speech I’ve ever heard,” (because I just didn’t get that same impression) I will throw my full endorsement behind this post by Greg Boyd. This is why I probably won’t vote and why both Barack Obama and John McCain do not give me hope.

Please read it all, but here are my favorite quotes:

I’m a citizen of a different empire (Phil 1:27; 3:20) and therefore a foreigner in this one (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:11). I’m only here as an ambassador and soldier sent to defend and advance the interests of my own homeland while being careful not to get too involved in civilian affairs (2 Cor 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:4). Given this, I don’t feel I need to try to decide how much of Obama’s speech last night was rooted in reality and how much of it was empty rhetoric, as some allege.

Whatever good Obama, McCain or any other politician may or may not be able to accomplish, the ultimate hope and allegiance of all Kingdom citizens must remain in Jesus Christ and in the mustard seed Kingdom he established. Our call as ambassadors of Christ is to individually and corporately look like Jesus in how we love and serve people, including the poor, the marginalized, the judged — and women with unwanted pregnancies. And our call is to trust that God will use the foolishness of this humble, servant activity to advance his Kingdom and ultimately transform the world.

unemployed

Well, friends, it’s been a good 3 1/2 year run. I’ll never see my 5th year at MortgageDocs.com, nor will I see SignSTAT v.3.0 that has been in the works since I got hired. I’ll miss my friends, my paycheck, and most importantly, grandslamderby.com. Go ahead, create a team.  And if you happen to see ‘briandavis4’ logged in as well, challenge him! And make sure your people are there to see it!  Cause you might get embarrassed.

Oh the memories…  kitty cannondouble wirescat with a bow…  and lest I forget, LINE RIDER. Good times.

On to bigger and better things… like going to the coast next week and staying home with Isabella!

latest yourfreeiphone scam update

A few people have been asking me how my quest for a free iphone is going, so I figured it’s time to give a quick update. My initial post on how to get an iphone (that it is NOT some sort of scam) through yourfreeiphone.com has continued to drive traffic my way through search engines. Maybe I should be writing more posts on SEO optimization.

Last update, I only had three people who had signed up through my referral. Today? ELEVEN! That’s the good news, but the bad news is not a single referral has filled out an offer yet. So I guess this is testament to the fact that people will sign up using your referral link, but it’s probably going to take even more time than I thought to get the iPhone. BUT, considering how much time (a few minutes) and effort (very little) I’ve put into this so far, I’d probably say it’s worth it.

In other news, the iPhone will now be sold for as little as $199 now. Since the price of the iPhone has gone down, the number of referrals needed should also, but I signed up for the cash reward for 11 referrals through yourfreeiphone.com anyway.

SIGN UP HERE to start on your!

california propositions 94–97

I’m sure you all are aware of Propositions 94-97, which would allow 4 Indian casino’s in California to expand their operations in exchange for payment to the state. The State has dug itself a pretty big financial hole… why not rely on trusty gambling addicts to help rectify the problem? Here are just a few reasons why I like these propositions:

  1. The Tribes will get to audit themselves. Who doesn’t like to use the “foot-wedge” in golf?
  2. The Tribes will get to pick and choose which slot machines’ revenues to include as payment to the state (therefore their highest profiting slot machines will not have to be included).
  3. The propositions will allow 4 of the richest Native American Tribes (out of 100+ that have historically been impoverished) to make more money.
  4. These rich casino’s will NOT be forced to offer affordable health care to their employees.
  5. More than half of one of these casino’s employee’s children will still be eligible for taxpayer-funded health care.
  6. Gambling addicts are FINALLY enabled to do something about forest fires and social issues.
  7. The Casino’s still will not have to worry about their workers forming a union.
  8. I will finally be able to support my daughter’s education by gambling with her college money.

you still lack one thing…

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

How do we overlook the teaching of Jubilee in Jesus’ messages, sermons, and conversations in the gospels? I’m realizing Jubilee, if not spoken of directly by Jesus (Luke 4:19), was at the root of a lot of his teachings and conversations with people. For example, the conversation Jesus had with the rich guy in Luke 18. The conversation went something like this,

“Jesus, how do I inherit eternal life?”

“You know the commandments…”

“Yes I do! And I’ve kept them since I was a boy!”

“Not really. You lack one thing… Sell everything and give it to the poor.”

I love the commentary you might usually get from people about this passage: “Well, he only was trying to prove the point that money was the rich man’s god. Jesus isn’t actually telling him to sell everything.” No, he was telling him to sell everything, that’s why he said, “Sell everything and give it to the poor.” In essence, Jesus is telling him, “Yes, you have broken the Law. You haven’t practiced Jubilee.” (James 2:10 – “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”)

How about: “This doesn’t mean we have to sell everything to be right with God.” Sure, but how are we exempt from keeping the whole Law and practicing Jubilee (as the rich man failed to do)?

This passage is so much deeper than Jesus speaking only to this man’s personal salvation or the rich’s inability to serve two masters. It’s about the reordering of the entire economy back to the way God designed it in Deuteronomy. There’s so much within this that I struggle with. How is a non-Jew (me) living in a non-theocratic nation (United States) supposed to view and follow the Law of Moses, particularly things like Jubilee?

One guy that got it was Zaccheaus. After a lifetime of stealing, hoarding wealth and using his power to exploit his own people, Zaccheaus finally gets it. Luke doesn’t say what Jesus and Zaccheaus talked about over lunch and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. I’d love to know what Jesus said that got through to him. Whatever it was, Zaccheaus declares he’ll give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back anyone he has cheated four fold. My amazing new IV commentary makes the point that Zaccheaus goes above and beyond the restitution the law required (Lev. 6 required full reimbursement to the defrauded plus 20% interest). Jubilee was at work, the economy was reordered, those he cheated were perhaps freed from poverty, and we absolutely can’t forget Jubilee freed the rich guy from bondage to money he didn’t even need. Yet, for some reason, I still want to be rich.

the world’s wealth

I started reading a book written by Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs titled “The End of Poverty.” Hopefully in the next few weeks as I read I’ll be able to update here with what I’m learning. I’m trying to understand why 2% of the world’s population own half of the world’s assests, and how it got this way.

By the way, you and I are included in that 2%. According to this article, it only takes $2,200 worth of assets to be in the top 2%.