Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hierarchy of Needs?

What to teach the children...hierarchy of needs (to live) is an important concept the public school will likely fail on, so here's my disclaimer: the following is based on Christian principles. One may suggest Christianity can answer the "higher" levels such as morality, self-esteem and friendship, however the "lower" levels need to be achieved by the people themselves: food, water, security, etc. I completely reject that thinking, and rather posit that God is actively in charge of everything in existence, such that there are no levels, but rather one reality of needs.

So if I were to counsel my child on how to respond to the question of how to categorize "needs," I'd say #1: you need God. However of course #1 begs for elaboration...

"He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son has not life." John 3:36 and I John 5:12

"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

"If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water." John 4:10

“I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:32-34

Isaiah 32 provides explanation for how God even is responsible for our shelter. People generally trust, or have faith in their homes and perhaps even in their cities. Yet Isaiah says you are better off living in the desert:

Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vines
13 and for the land of my people,
a land overgrown with thorns and briers—
yes, mourn for all houses of merriment
and for this city of revelry.
14 The fortress will be abandoned,
the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
16 The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
19 Though hail flattens the forest
and the city is leveled completely...

God performs miracles, whether we see them or believe in them or not. He makes streams flow in the desert, feeds the multitudes, raises up the lowly, and brings low the mighty. The concepts that you need anything apart from God, and that you can do any good thing apart from God, are illusions..."But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;" II Corinthians 4:7. We are those earthen vessels, and the treasure is Christ. We Christians, and all of mankind, and indeed all of this mortal coil, this temporal realm. Regardless of E=MC squared, God made it all and has sovereignty over it all. How much more transitory are our efforts apart from Christ?

“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I spent many long hours contemplating Discipline and Punish...what a waste. I should have been producing, by the act of discipleship. This will be a continuing theme here, at Bill of Grace. It is perhaps the most profound revelation I've experienced in decades.

I came to the realization that the majority of my Christian life has been in the pursuit of inner knowledge, and thanks to a foxy blend of this world's cults of Dionysus and education for its own sake, I was generally encouraged in this pursuit. But no more.

Though some wicked strategy, an amalgam of '60s new ageism and "it's the journey, not the destination," too many churches of today glorify the seeker on his or her journey. Know what? If you aren't seizing your faith and sharing it, what kind of faith do you have?

It is an unspeakably glorious mystery to be held in the grip of the Almighty. However, to stay there is to remain but an infant, or an adolescent at best. To achieve adulthood in the faith, one must follow Christ's command and make disciples.

After surfing and putting a few noteworthy titles in my cart (#1: Navigators Complete Book of Discipleship) I went to a used bookstore to browse for gems. I read the spines of perhaps a thousand titles, of which approximately 50 concerned evangelism or missions. The other 950 delivered countless ways of improving oneself and learning more.

Sorry to say, God did not call us to spend our lives searching, nor reading without ceasing. God commands us to pray without ceasing, and to make disciples. A friend recommended "The Trellis and the Vine," in which we see the goal of all ministry is to nurture disciples, and to be a disciple is to be a disciple-maker.

There is no neutral in the faith. The lukewarm He spits from His mouth. If you are just coasting, sinful nature is growing like mold in stagnant water. Pray about it, then go with strength and humility to your pastor, and ask where is the program on discipling. If there is none, start one. God will not only give you the strength, but will give you even more energy thereafter! Perhaps akin to exercising leaves you tired for the moment, but makes you stronger.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1,2


Cult of Life

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Obama Shock

As I learn about fiat currency, I intuited that Nixon and Bretton Woods would be significant history, however I didn't realize how similar the preceding events were to today:

"The year 1970 was the crucial turning point, because foreign arbitrage of the U.S. dollar caused governmental gold coverage of the paper dollar to decline from 55% to 22%. That, in the view of neoclassical economics and the Austrian School, represented the point where holders of the U.S. dollar lost faith in the U.S. government's ability to cut its budget and trade deficits.

By 1971, the money supply had increased by 10%.[1] In the first six months of 1971, $22 billion in assets left the U.S.[2] In May 1971, inflation-wary West Germany was the first member country to unilaterally leave the Bretton Woods system — unwilling to devalue the Deutsche Mark in order to prop up the dollar.[1] In the next three months, West Germany's move strengthened their economy. Simultaneously, the dollar dropped 7.5% against the Deutsche Mark.[1]

Due to the excess printed dollars, and the negative U.S. trade balance, other nations began demanding fulfillment of America's "promise to pay..."

So my research turned up this, which supported my suspicions:

"...there are millions of Americans reaching retirement age who will be shocked to learn that they will fare no better than those in developing countries with debased currencies that have driven them into poverty. We lived through the Nixon Gold Shock. But I’m not sure we’ll make it through The Obama Deficit Shock."

Yet, what if the opposite were true?

"What the Nixon Shock recognized – what Paul did not then and still does not recognize – was that this generation's economics are naturally deflationary, not inflationary. As technology created new abundance in the form of processing power, a gold standard would have created a deflationary spiral, which is far worse in its economic implications than an inflationary one."

That article continues to explain what will be our savior: cheap energy. All the the money being poured into renewable sources will eventually jackpot, we'll drive for cheap (and not pollute), and the economy enters a new vast upswing. When that breakthrough occurs, the Green Revolution truly begins.

What do you think? Is one or the other true, somewhere in the middle? Elsewhere? The answer is certainly a global one, on a scale only dreamed of by the Nixon Era movers and shakers. Perhaps bitcoin will play a part. China certainly will.

"When the era of floating rates began, in 1971 when President Richard Nixon abruptly abandoned the link between the dollar and gold that had been the foundation of the post-war fixed-currency system known (after the place where it was agreed upon) as Bretton Woods, there was another Asian country widely accused of unfair trading. It was Japan, whose rapid, environmentally dirty growth in the 1960s, based on cheap labour and a cheap, fixed currency, had produced a big trade surplus and was being blamed for America’s trade deficit.

"At that time, America really did have a currency weapon in its hands: by abandoning Bretton Woods and the link to gold, Nixon could force other countries to revalue their currencies against the dollar. He did so as part of a deal, in which he removed a 10% surcharge on all imports that he had imposed several months earlier. The yen soared in value. The Japanese have ever since called this “the Nixon shock” which, combined with the 1973 oil-price hike, forced their companies and their government to move their economy sharply upmarket, towards higher technology and greater energy efficiency.

"Today, there are some crucial differences but one important similarity. The similarity is that tensions over currencies and trade imbalances are centring on a rising Asian giant, one whose rapid, environmentally dirty growth has been based on cheap labour and a cheap fixed currency: China, of course. The differences are that a Nixon-style import surcharge would be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules, and that thanks to floating exchange rates the currency weapon is not in the hands of President Barack Obama but rather the Chinese themselves, for only they can choose to relax capital controls and to float their currency. It is harder now to have an “Obama shock." But it is not impossible."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Atlas is Shrugging

The below excerpts are copied from Kevin at smallest minority who is reading Mark Steyn's book. best explanation I've seen for the "2 americas" concept. Now in my cart:

Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists -- sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily "compassionate" statists, sometimes patrician noblesse oblige statists, but always statists. The short history of the post-war western democracies is that you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life: the people can elect "conservatives," as from time to time the Germans and British have done, and the left is mostly relaxed about it all because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha'penny would agree to go and take the chill off the toilet seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects were ready to stroll in and assume their rightful place. Republicans have gotten good at keeping the seat warm.

In 1945, Hugh MacLennan wrote a novel set in Montreal whose title came to sum up the relationship between the English and the French in Canada: Two Solitudes. They live in the same nation, sometimes in the same town, sometimes share the same workspace. But they inhabit different psychologies. In 2008, David Warren, a columnist with The Ottawa Citizen, argued that the concept has headed south:

In the United States, especially in the present election, we get glimpses of two political solitudes that have been created not by any plausible socio-economic division within society, nor by any deep division between different ethnic tribes, but tautologically by the notion of "two solitudes" itself. The nation is divided, roughly half-and-half, between people who instinctively resent the Nanny State, and those who instinctively long for its ministrations.

John Edwards, yesterday's coming man, had an oft retailed stump speech about "the two Americas," a Disraelian portrait of Dickensian gloom conjured in the mawkish drool of a Depression-era sob-sister: one America was a wasteland of shuttered mills and shivering "coatless girls," while in the other America Dick Cheney and his Halliburton fat cats were sitting 'round the pool swigging crude straight from the well and toasting their war profits all day long. Edwards was right about the "two Americas," but not about the division: in one America, those who subscribe to the ruling ideology can access a world of tenured security lubricated by government and without creating a dime of wealth for the overall economy; in the other America, millions of people go to work every day to try to support their families and build up businesses and improve themselves, and the harder they work the more they're penalized to support the government class in its privileges. Traditionally, he who paid the piper called the tune. But not anymore. Flownover Country pays the piper, very generously, in salaries, benefits, pensions, and perks. But Conformicrat America calls the tune, the same unending single-note dirge. David Warren regards these as "two basically irreconcilable views of reality": "Only in America are they so equally balanced. Elsewhere in the west, the true believers in the Nanny State have long since prevailed."

Increasingly, America's divide is about the nature of the state itself -- about the American idea. And in that case why go on sharing the same real estate? As someone once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The Flownover Country's champion ought, in theory, to be the Republican Party. But, even in less fractious times, this is a loveless marriage. Much of the GOP establishment is either seduced by the Conformicrats, or terrified by them, to the point where they insist on allowing he liberals to set the parameters of the debate -- on health care, immigration, education, Social Security -- and then wonder why elections are always fought on the Democrats' terms. If you let the left make the rules, the right winds up being represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. If you want to prevent Big Government driving America off a cliff, it's insufficient.

The Conformicrats need Flownover Country to fund them. It's less clear why Flownover Country needs the Conformicrats -- and a house divided against itself cannot stand without the guy who keeps up the mortgage payments.