Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
 
Radical Pruning
21 April 2011
 
 
In yesterday's article we discovered afresh how the federal government is an out-of-control monstrosity that tries to play God in the lives of its citizens, and that there is a very real possibility that the American government, nation and people will end up being destroyed by this deformed system we have created. Today we will explore concrete ways that we can subdue the monster and cut it down to size, so that it will enable us rather than consume us.
 
The first general step, as I had mentioned previously, is for the government to not spend more than it has, and live within its means. That's just a basic fact of life that everyone has to live by, and is very easy to understand. Beyond that, there are some specific areas where the federal and state governments can be pruned WAY back. Here is what I suggest (not in any particular order):
 
Land Ownership
OK ... this first one is a real biggie, in more ways than one! According to information found here, the United States government has direct ownership of almost 650 million acres of land — nearly 30% of its total territory. In the 12 big western states, the average is an astounding 49% of the land! By state, that's about 85% of Nevada, 69% of Alaska, 57% of Utah, 53% of Oregon, 50% of Idaho, 48% of Arizona, 45% of California, and so on, and so on. And this is not even taking into consideration property owned by state and local governments. And if enough land didn't already belong to the federal government, apparently the Obama administration is working hard to add more to its collection, as Glenn Beck shared last year.
 
Now, why in the world does the U.S. government need to own nearly half of the western one-third of the country, and 85% of Nevada, or nearly 70% of Alaska, or 45% of California?! This is just total craziness! It's just one of the methods the government uses to maintain power and control over society. The federal government is long overdue for a massive real estate sale! With all proceeds going directly to reducing the national deficit.
 
  • Land for military uses can be greatly reduced as part of reducing our oversized, war armed forces (see related point below).
  • There are plenty of conservation groups and other non-profit organizations that could take the national parks and reserves off the federal government's hands.
  • The land used for Native American reservations should be GIVEN to those tribes.
  • The land used for all types of schools should be privatized along with the schools themselves (see related point below).
  • Land leased to the private sector for commercial use (forestry, mining, agriculture) should be sold to those commercial entities.
 
In the end, there is very little land that the federal government needs to own. The bonus side-benefit will be that the government will be able to shut down most of nearly dozen agencies it has created over the years to manage this huge amount of land. In its current deep-seated financial plight, we can no longer afford the luxury of the U.S. government owning 30% of the entire country.
Home Loans
Home ownership may be part of the American Dream, but as we saw in the previous article, that dream is turning into a horrendous nightmare as that huge financial bubble begins to implode. Owning your own house may be a noble goal (or maybe not!), but we can ask as before, why in the world do the federal and state governments need to spend large chunks of their budgets to make sure everyone has a roof over their head, or to enable some of their citizens to "own" that roof? (Well, it's actually the banks that own it, but that a whole other issue!)
 
During most of the 1990s I lived in Switzerland, which is a very modern, affluent nation. I was amazed to discover that about two-thirds of the population rents their housing rather than owning it. This surprised me greatly, seeing that in the U.S., the home ownership rate is double that, with only one-third of the people renting. Considering that Switzerland's society has traditionally had a much more social democracy leaning than the United States, one would imagine that the Swiss government would go to great lengths to help their citizens to own their homes, but that does not appear to be the case. Of course, the Swiss will make sure that everyone has a roof over their head, but the issue of who owns the roof does not seem to matter as much to them as it does to Americans.
 
There is one simple reason why the Swiss do not have a higher rate of home ownership: houses cost too much. Rather than trying to grasp what is out of reach, rather than buying into the propaganda expressed in the ad to the right, they wisely choose to live within their means. We Americans could learn a big lesson from them.
 
In India, it seems that the Hindus would rather starve to death than kill one of their sacred cows! In our own country it is much the same — our economy is starving to death, yet we absolutely refuse to kill the sacred cow of home ownership! Come on! Home ownership is not a divine right! Let's abandon that ship before we go down with it!
 
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created by the federal government as special government-sponsored enterprises specifically to encourage and enable home ownership. Fannie Mae was converted into a publicly-traded company, but after the devastating pop of the housing bubble that started in 2007 (and is continuing today), the two corporations have been taken over by the federal government, in what the Washington Post called "one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades."
 
The government has no business being in the home loan or home ownership promotion business! As the recent housing bubble crisis (in which it played a major role in creating) has clearly demonstrated, it's way past time for the federal government to completely shut down Fannie Mae, Feddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ginnie Mae, the Rural Housing Service of the Department of Agriculture, and any other organization like these.
 
If people can't afford to buy a house, let them rent. Home ownership is a luxury, not a right, and not a necessity. If they can't afford to rent, let a charity help them (see related point below). It's really pretty simple.
Education
One need not look any further than the crisis-level problems in our public education system in order to clearly see how miserably the government has failed in its attempt to play God. For anyone with eyes to see, it is obvious that the government does NOT know best!
 
Our public schools are plagued with not just one or two major diseases, but a entire host of them! Violence at school is such a significant problem that some schools have installed the same kind of x-ray security equipment normally found at major airports, which the children must pass through every day upon enter the school.
 
Drug dealing and abuse is such an epidemic in public schools that drug abuse resistance education programs target children still in primary school. In recent years, there have been numerous news headlines about students having sex right in the classroom, like this shocking story: Second Grader Says Classmates Had Sex In Class. Gang rapes on high school campuses have also been in the news recently.
 
Discipline (or more accurately, the LACK of disciple) problems are so pervasive that it makes it very difficult for the instructors to teach and for the pupils to learn. School administrators and staff are often at their wits' end because every strategy to cure the malady proves ineffective.
 
For the last decades, the education system's answer to declining test score averages and world education rankings has been to lower the bar rather than training the pupils to reach higher. Award-winning teacher and author John Taylor Gatto writes:
Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children's power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of the national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think, and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior. School is a twelve year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.
Because of all of these (and more!) moral and academic problems in the public schools, my wife and I have been homeschooling our children for the past twelve years. As the Wikipedia article on homeschooling points out,
For much of history and in many cultures, enlisting professional teachers (whether as tutors or in a formal academic setting) was an option available only to a small elite. Thus, until relatively recently, the vast majority of people were educated by parents (especially during early childhood) and in the fields or learning a trade.
Historically, both primary and higher education outside of direct control of the parents was organized primarily by Christians. The Wikipedia article on universities states:
Prior to their formal establishment, many medieval universities were run for hundreds of years as Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools, in which monks and nuns taught classes; evidence of these immediate forerunners of the later university at many places dates back to the 6th century AD. The earliest universities were developed under the aegis of the western church. In the early medieval period, most new universities were founded from pre-existing schools, usually when these schools were deemed to have become primarily sites of higher education. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries.
Public education in England started as Sunday Schools by Robert Raikes.
In 18th century England, education was reserved for a minority and was not compulsory. The wealthy educated their children privately. The children of factory workers got no formal education, typically working alongside their parents six days a week, sometimes more than 13 hours a day. In 1781, Raikes saw the plight of children living in the Gloucester slums and reached out to them by opening the first school on Sunday, the only day these boys and girls living in the slums and working in the factories could attend. Using the Bible as their textbook, he taught them to read and write. Within four short years over 250,000 children were attending schools on Sunday throughout England. By 1831 it was reported that attendance at Sunday Schools had grown to 1.2 million. In later years the operation of these schools was taken over by the British government.
Government-run education is effectively a monopoly, which are inherently inefficient because they squash the very competition that leads to efficiencies. Every single "vital" school administrator, ever single square foot of "indispensable" administrative office space and buildings takes just that much more away from the actual educating of our children. There is absolutely NO reason why the government should be in the education business, unless it is to exercise power and control over its citizens.
 
All, All, ALL government-run schools in America, from the lowliest preschool or nursery, to the highest university, should be privatized. ALL resources used for educational purposes should be sold, given away, or shut down, starting with the Department of Education at the federal level, and also throughout all the individual states. Let parents choose where to send their children based upon the reputation and performance of each school.
 
Christians have dropped the educational ball for way too long. They need to get back into the forefront of education, as they were hundreds of years ago when they first planted the seeds of modern education. They should also step up their charity to help the poor who will have a hard time affording the newly-privatized schools (see related point below).
Health Coverage
Despite President Obama's strenuous efforts to shove more of this down our throats, health care and coverage is another business the government has no business being in. The outrageous cost of health care in this country (and in the West generally) clearly demonstrates that the entire system is broken. Government interference and control only makes it worse.
 
As was pointed out in yesterday's article, the government feels an overwhelming need and desire to play the almighty and all-benevolent mother hen, taking care of its citizens' needs from cradle to grave. Nowhere is this manifested more clearly than in the area of health care. The American people seem to believe that cheap and abundant quality medical care is a divine right, and they seem to have a sacred expectation that their government should be the god that dispenses such favors. Unfortunately for all of us, this foolish faith is tragically misplaced.
 
Although the government is desperately sick (which is the point of these articles I'm writing), the government itself does not need health care (it needs massive pruning instead). Only people — human beings — need health care. Therefore, the people who need the health care should pay for it themselves, and not expect someone else to do it (like the government).
 
Medicaid, jointly run by the federal and state governments, consumes between one-fifth and one-quarter of each state's annual budget. In addition, the costs of the separate, federally-run Medicare doubled every four years between 1966 and 1980. The Wikipedia article continues:
Medicare spending is growing steadily in both absolute terms and as a percentage of the federal budget. Total Medicare spending reached $440 billion for fiscal year 2007 or 16% of all federal spending and grew to $599 billion in 2008 which was 20% of federal spending. The only larger categories of federal spending are Social Security and defense. Given the current pattern of spending growth, maintaining Medicare's financing over the long-term may well require significant changes.
 
The New York Times wrote in January 2009 that Social Security and Medicare "have proved almost sacrosanct in political terms, even as they threaten to grow so large as to be unsustainable in the long run."
 
Richard W. Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has remarked that in order to "cover the unfunded liability" for the Medicare program today and into the future, "you would be stuck with an $85.6 trillion bill" which is "more than six times the annual output of the entire U.S. economy," and noted that "Medicare was a pay-as-you-go program from the very beginning."
 
The Government Accountability Office lists Medicare as a "high-risk" government program in need of reform, in part because of its vulnerability to fraud and partly because of its long-term financial problems. Fewer than 5% of Medicare claims are audited.
It appears to me that many Americans view sickness and death as two horrendous evils which must be vanquished at all costs. There is not a problem accomplishing the "all costs" part, but eliminating sickness and death is another story entirely. I'll tell you a secret — ever since Adam and Eve, EVERYONE gets sick, and EVERYONE dies! Isn't that astonishing?! Of course, I'm being facetious. But then why are sickness and death regarded as out of the ordinary, rather than simply accepted as a normal part of human existence?
 
It's almost as if we humans think we can play God — as if we are powerful and clever enough to overcome such things. With every little ache and pain, we rush to the doctor, and of course we expect our health insurance to magically cover every penny of the expense. There are serious flaws in our fundamental understanding of health, medical care, and death.
 
If you can afford our wonderful and very expensive medical care, then go ahead and benefit from it. But if you can't afford it, then you'll have to do without. No one "owes" you it, nor is it a divine right. People have been getting sick and dying from the beginning of creation until this very day, all without government intervention (but somethimes with government assistance!). That's the way it goes. That's just normal life on planet Earth.
 
As in the realm of education, our modern health care can be traced back to decidedly Christian roots. The Wikipedia article on hospitals relates:
The adoption of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire drove an expansion of the provision of care. Following the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. construction of a hospital in every cathedral town was begun. Thus in-patient medical care in the sense of what we today consider a hospital, was an invention driven by Christian mercy. Medieval hospitals in Europe were religious communities, with care provided by monks and nuns. (An old French term for hospital is hôtel-Dieu, "hostel of God.") Some were attached to monasteries; others were independent and had their own endowments, usually of property, which provided income for their support. The medieval concept of Christian care evolved during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries into a secular one, but even today a significant number of hospitals still have some sort of connection to a Christian denomination.
Once again, we see that the Church has surrendered its role to the secular authorities, and society has suffered as a result. As our health care system continues to disintegrate all around us, Christians have an incredible opportunity to take the lead once again. The current system is terminally ill, so Christians need to create NEW systems, both medical and spiritual, that will meet the ever-increasing health needs of society. A particular emphasis should be placed on expanding the network of Healing Rooms, which bring the healing power of Yeshua (Jesus) into every aspects of a person's life.
 
As was stated before, the government needs to get completely out of the "care" business, and leave that to the people of God. But will Christians rise to the occasion? See the "Charity" point below for further reflections on that question.
Pensions
I think we are starting to see a definite pattern here: once again those who call themselves Christians have neglected the needs of the people around them — so much so, that the government, like a cancerous growth, invades and takes over that area.
 
The U.S. Social Security program has a long and complicated history, which you can examine by following the provided link. A separate article, Social Security Debate, explains the titanic financial crisis that the system will face in the coming years.
 
For the more than seventy years of Social Security's existance, it has run an annual surplus, which has been "invested" in Treasury securities issued by the U.S. government. In everyday language, this means that Social Security funds are being used to help finance the huge federal debt. By the end of 2009, the U.S. government owed $2.5 trillion, and by 2019 the government is expected to have borrowed nearly $3.8 trillion against the Social Security Trust Fund. But that's not all! The Wikipedia article states:
Reform proposals continue to circulate with some urgency, due to a long-term funding challenge faced by the program. Starting in 2015 and continuing thereafter, program expenses are expected to exceed cash revenues. This is due to the aging of the baby-boom generation (resulting in a lower ratio of paying workers to retirees), expected continuing low birth rate (compared to the baby-boom period), and increasing life expectancy. Further, the government has borrowed and spent the accumulated surplus funds, called the Social Security Trust Fund.
 
Between 2015 and 2037, Social Security has the legal authority to draw amounts from other government tax sources besides the payroll tax, to fully fund the program. However, this will liquidate the Trust Fund during that period. By 2037, the Trust Fund is expected to be officially exhausted. Payroll taxes will only cover 78% of the scheduled payout amounts after 2037. This declines to 75% by 2084. Without changes to the law, Social Security would have no legal authority to draw other government funds to cover the shortfall and payments would decline without a large tax/revenue increase or increase in eligibility age.
 
During these same two decades, redemption of the trust fund balance to pay retirees will draw approximately $4 trillion in government funds from sources other than payroll taxes. This is a funding challenge for the government overall, not just Social Security. The present value of unfunded obligations under Social Security as of August 2010 was approximately $5.4 trillion. In other words, this amount would have to be set aside today such that the principal and interest would cover the shortfall over the next 75 years.
 
By dollars paid, the U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for social security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid. Social Security is currently the largest social insurance program in the U.S. where combined spending for all social insurance programs constitutes 37% of government expenditure.
In a nutshell, the government has promised WAY more than it can provide, and such a program is totally unsustainable. Something has got to give. One way or another, things WILL change, because the current course is impossible. And we haven't even touched on the untold billions of dollars the government has promised to pay government workers for their retirement. This is a major source of heat that is causing great financial strains in many of the states' budgets. You can only go into debt so far, on a personal or a governmental level, before the day of reckoning comes.
 
All throughout the Bible, God has a lot to say about taking care of the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and the elderly. And it's NEVER the government doing the caring, but individuals and communities. The American government, at all levels, must get completely out of the pension business before such titanic obligations sink our ship of state. For more about the Church fulfilling ITS obligations, see the "Charity" point below.
The Military
Despite many Evangelicals believing the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation, the evidence to support this assertion is, for the most part, quite thin. It's not too difficult to show that, in the realm of ideals, there was Christian influence in the early years of this country. But in the living out of those ideals in everyday life, it's very clear that America has acted just as un-Christlike as any other pagan nation.
 
Therefore, it should come as no surprise — seeing that Americans are just as pagan at heart as any other tribe on the planet — that our history has been one of pretty much continuous military violence and bloodshed. Click on this link and take a look at this long, long list — I had no idea! It's amazing to realize that virtually NONE of these wars were defensive — World War II, in response to the Japanese attack, is the only exception I can see. Even the American Revolution was rebellion, not self-defense (stay tuned for the article on this subject I will be posting on this Web site in a couple of months for the upcoming Fourth of July).
 
For more than 200 years, U.S. military might has been used almost exclusively to further American expansionism and imperialism. Despite deceptive, virtuous-sounding rationalizations — "The American flag has not been planted in foreign soil to acquire more territory but for humanity's sake." (President McKinley) — the American government has been, and still is, guilty of warmongering, blood-lust, land-grabbing, global despotism, and more. Let's cut the sentimental, patriotic crap about being SO proud of our soldiers! Instead, we should be hanging our heads in shame for our unethical belligerence.
 
Not only is our military aggression immoral and odious, it is also VERY expensive. The Wikipedia article on the U.S. military budget states:
The U.S. Department of Defense budget accounted in fiscal year 2010 for about 19% of the United States federal budgeted expenditures and 28% of estimated tax revenues. Including non-DOD expenditures, defense spending was approximately 28-38% of budgeted expenditures and 42-57% of estimated tax revenues. According to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending grew 9% annually on average from fiscal year 2000-2009.
 
The 2009 U.S. military budget accounts for approximately 40% of global arms spending and is over six times larger than the military budget of China (compared at the nominal US dollar / Renminbi rate, not the PPP rate). The United States and its close allies are responsible for two-thirds to three-quarters of the world's military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the majority).
When the United States was established, it was given a Department of Defense, not a Department of Aggression. It is WAY past time for us to turn our backs on this imperialistic aggression. The American military can easily be radically pruned, in keeping with our true defensive, and defensive ONLY, needs. America does NOT need to play world cop, nor international king-maker, nor global "benevolent" dictator, nor the superpower of the earth, nor any other excuse for an excessive, bloated military. Many lives, untold misery, and loads of money could be saved without much difficulty.
 
Will we rise to the challenge? And where is the Church of Jesus Christ in all this? Unfortunately, Evangelical Christians are some of the biggest supporters of the military (see my article American Jihad for more details). When will the American Church repent of this pagan love for violence, and follow the crucified Messiah, by who's name they call themselves, instead. Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) should be at the forefront of calling for, and working toward, a significantly reduced military that would remain more within the bounds of morality. The day of Isaiah's prophesied swords into plowshares has not yet arrived, but we can nevertheless labor to that end.
Charity
Finally, we have come to the last item we will consider for pruning! Despite the fact that charity has been the almost exclusive domain of the Church for the past 2,000 years, the U.S. government is, by far, the biggest charitable organization on earth! As mentioned in yesterday's article, households received $2.3 trillion in some kind of government support in 2010, while they paid only $2.2 trillion in taxes. The article continued:
An estimated 59% of the 308.7 million Americans in this country get at least one federal benefit, according to the Census Bureau, based on 2009 data. An estimated 46.5 million get Social Security; 42.6 million get Medicare; 42.4 million get Medicaid; 36.1 million get food stamps; 12.4 million get housing subsidies; and 3.2 million get Veterans' benefits. Government cash handouts account for a whopping 79% of household growth since 2007, even as household tax payments — for things like the income and payroll tax, among other taxes — have fallen by $312 billion.
As we have seen over and over again in this article, in many areas of social responsibility the Church has dropped the ball, and the government has reshaped itself to fill the void. I believe that the major responsibility for turning our government into an out-of-control monstrosity lies with those who call themselves Christians, yet fail miserably to live as Christ taught. Then, after government had taken over these areas, Christians have felt compelled to get into politics, using political power to force "Christian morality" on society. This issue is what The Myth of a Christian Nation is all about.
 
In order for this dysfunctional cycle to be broken, the Body of Yeshua needs rise up and fulfill the role that God has intended. The titanic financial crisis of the U.S. government, at both the federal and state level, is an golden opportunity to start taking back lost ground. But where can the Church come up with the billions and trillions of dollars to help all those in need?
 
Once the American government is pruned back to the level that I'm proposing in this article, then the tax burden to support this monstrosity can be greatly reduced, resulting in A LOT more money in the pockets of the people. Charity coming in a personal way from someone in the local community is usually going to be a lot more efficient and successful than the cold, anonymous charity coming from a ponderous, bureaucratic government mired in red tape.
 
But in the end, charity has more to do with the condition of your heart than the condition of your bank account. American Christians already give a very small proportion of their income to help others; paying less in taxes is probably not going to change their hearts. Theologian Ronald Sider wrote in his best-selling book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity:
For Christians in the richest nation in history to be giving only 2.43 percent of their income to their churches is not just stinginess, it is biblical disobedience — blatant sin. We have become so seduced by the pervasive consumerism and materialism of our culture that we hardly notice the ghastly disjunction between our incredible wealth and the agonizing poverty in the world. Over the last 40 years, American Christians (as we have grown progressively richer) have given a smaller and smaller percent of our growing income to the ministries of our churches. Such behavior flatly contradicts what the Bible teaches about God, justice, and wealth. We should be giving not 2.4 percent but 10 percent, 15 percent, even 25 to 35 percent or more to kingdom work. Most of us could give 20 percent and not be close to poverty.
I think that the actual percentage might be a bit higher than 2.43%, because there are some Christians, like myself, who give directly to certain individuals and groups in need, and not to a church or mainline Christian organization. Such gifts would probably not be counted in the total of overall Christian giving used in the research from which these statistics are derived. But on the whole, I do think that Christians are greatly lacking in their concern and care for the poor, and expressing that care through financial giving. There is definitely A LOT of room for improvement.
 
Even if Christians were to have more money by paying less taxes, and even if they were to give a larger percentage of the money they already have, it still might be woefully inadequate to meet the huge needs which the American government is now attempting to meet. The question of where the Church could obtain those kind of resources continues to remain unanswered.
 
Up until now, we have been talking about the current and potential financial resources of individual Christians. But what about the "gold mines" that the institutional Church in America is sitting on? I've talk about this in detail in one of my first articles on this Web site — Billions and Billions of Dollars Ago... You should really read the entire article, but for now I will just quote some of the most relevant passages:
There are so many needs the government is expected to meet. The poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the sick, health insurance, retirement, veterans ... on and on it goes. All the while, the government sinks deeper and deeper into debt. Then, there's the American Church, which spends most of the money it receives in donations on itself. Imagine how many billions and billions of dollars have been spent just on church buildings, real estate, salaries and equipment and other "necessities"!
 
Megachurch Madness!
Historically, the Church has been the one to provide aid to the poor, health care, education, care for the elderly, and many other social services and reforms. Most, if not all, of the first hospitals and universities were started by Christians. But over the last century or so, much of this has been abandoned by the Church, and has been taken over by the government, which is notorious for its inefficiency and bloated bureaucracy. And now the government is staggering under the financial weight of these needs. Meanwhile, the American Church is staggering under the financial weight of church buildings and real estate, Sunday services, and professional clergy and staff. All of which not only doesn't help the believers to grow spiritually, but actually HINDERS them from spiritual growth! What does true Biblical Christianity have to do with megachurches and steeples, stained glass and sound systems?
 
I have a dream ... a dream of the American Church being transformed ... a dream of American society being transformed. Not just a transformation, but a revolution! Imagine the life and vitality that would flow into, and then out of, the American Church with no church buildings, no church real estate, no Sunday church gatherings, and no paid clergy and staff to support all that — and thriving because of it! Imagine believers turning into disciples rather than remaining spectators!
 
Am I naïve and silly to dream such a radical, ridiculous dream? Is this a dream that could never come true? I don't think this is too impossible to dream, because I think it WILL happen. It HAS to happen! And if we don't do it voluntarily, then I believe that God will compel us. Because I don't think this is just my dream, but a God dream as well. This change MUST come. We in the American Church are on a wrong, bad path. One way or another we MUST get off of it, and back to what God intended for His Church.
 
Could the American Church possibly find it in its heart to make a public apology to the nation: "We, the American Church, confess that we have lived selfishly, and we have abandoned our responsibilities. We have amassed properties and buildings, possessions and hierarchies, but we have neglected the poor and needy, the sick and ignorant, the lonely and destitute. Because we have dropped the ball, we have caused the government to try to take our place, a role for which it was never designed. In order to demonstrate our true repentance, and in order to become the Church that Jesus, the Head of the Church, is calling us to be, within the next 12 months we will sell ALL of the properties and buildings we own which are used for religious services, and lay off ALL of our paid staff, including pastors and other leaders. We will become a house-based Church, embracing and practicing the values of relationship, discipleship, participation and generosity. All of the money we receive from these changes, as well as all of the donations we will receive in the future, will be spent, not on ourselves, but for the needs of society."
 
Imagine the impact such a radical repentance and radical lifestyle would have on America, and the whole world! Imagine how much lower our taxes would be if the Church would spend its money for the needs of society rather than on itself, so that the government wouldn't need to! If the Church were doing its job, whole sections of the government could be shut down! Imagine the shock the American people would have to see the Church finally starting to live like the Church! And I'm not even talking about individual Christians selling all they have and giving to the poor, but just the Institutional Church itself.
 
Some Christians and some churches will catch the vision for this and make the changes voluntarily. Unfortunately, I think that most of the Church will not make these changes until forced to through persecution or other circumstances. But it WILL happen.
This, then, it the bottom-line, ultimate solution to America's financial crisis: the repentance and generosity of those who consider themselves followers of Christ. Could unwillingness on the part of Christians to embrace these radical changes be one of the major reasons America's finances and economy are melting down? We Christians are not willing, so God has to force us. It just may be that that is what's happening.
 
Is it possible that major devastation on the West Coast from earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis will be a primary trigger for this economic meltdown? It could very well be. We shall see.
 
Well, there you have it. Radical repentance on the part of the Church is the primary, and maybe only, way to achieve a radical pruning of the government. The ball is in the Church's court. Will it drop the ball as it has in the past, or will it finally wake up and DO something? All of creation holds its breath, waiting to find out.
This article is 8th a series of articles on this Web site related to American Politics and Culture which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
1.
5  Nov  2008
2.
5  Dec  2008
3.
6  Mar  2010
4.
18  Sep  2010
5.
18  Apr  2011
6.
19  Apr  2011
7.
20  Apr  2011
8.
Radical Pruning
21  Apr  2011
9.
8  Nov  2011
10.
28  Jun  2013
11.
11  Sep  2013
12.
5  Oct  2013
13.
29  Apr  2014
14.
2  Jul  2014
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Reader Comments
On August 1, 2013, jeremiah wrote:
Good job with this article. I can see you put allot of thought into it and I hope that people will really read and think about it. As a wise man once said: “Those who will not be Governed by God will be Ruled by Tyrants” ~Jeremiah
 
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