Thursday, November 08, 2007


this morning, as i listened to morning edition reporting on the consistent, devaluation of the dollar, the precipitous price of oil and the possibility of chinese companies divesting their american assets and shifting their focus to europe and the euro, i started to wrestle with a strange set of questions. namely, if our country's impending recession devolved into a full blown depression, how would my family respond?

would we exchange our little condo for a more communitarian existence? if we chose the latter option would we live communally in new england, choose to live with extended family or move to the midwest where we could produce more of the food we would need to subsist? in a desperate economy, how would my view of work change? would i be more willing to work a job that met our necessities but was relatively bereft of meaning? how would such circumstances alter my spirituality and my understanding of God? would theological discussions become less of a parlor game and more, or less, essential to a good, beautiful and true existence? would my relationships with friends, family and the other deepen or be distressed?

how do you think a catastrophic economic depression, such as that experienced by my paternal grandparents, who were part of the diaspora that traipsed from oklahoma to california in the 1930s, would effect you and your family?

moreover, if you are a member of the body of Christ, how do you think such circumstances would alter the mission and ministry of the church? as per the church, i suspect that during a depression sermon series on topics such as "how to make friends at work" and "extreme money makeover" would wilt on the side of the road. in addition, the content of your best life now would probably have to be significantly revised. but, i'll leave further discussion of how the church might respond to the comments section.

maybe these musings should be written off as the apocalyptic anxieties of a third generation okie. but maybe considering such questions will help us better understand who we are as individuals and communities as well as what changes we might need to make in order to persevere through the tough economic, political, spiritual and relational times that are bound to come.


g13 said...

by the way, if you're intrigued by such apocalyptic scenarios you should check out douglas coupland's girlfriend in a coma and eleanor rigby, which are two of the most interesting apocalyptic pieces i have read.

mike said...

i would add "god is dead" by Ron Currie Jr. to the apocalyptic stuff.

anyway. growing up a small farmer in kansas it was always the depression or recession. thanks Pres Ron! at any rate.

i hope for the fall of the western/US empire. i can build my own house, grow my own food, kill my own food.

i think many christians would cry out as Jerome did at the fall of Rome when he said something to the effect that if Rome falls what becomes of the church. i would hope that eminent minds like yourself would answer in an augustine like city of god manner without all the wacky platonic catagories.

carl said...

My first instinct is to go the communal route.

Agent B said...

Yeah, I'd go the communal route too.

And some sort of apocalyptic type life looks real possible and has for a long time.

But the olsteen/ramsey type messages in church will finally be seen as transparent to more people.

Before Girl said...

I think I would be more inclined to be on my own. I don't trust people right away, or trust that the good in them will prevail. I think anything communal would be family first, like my inlaws, before going out to friends and then on my own before going to strangers.

I'd like to believe in the inherent good of humans, but I grew up learning to distrust everyone, even my own parents. It's a mindf*&k when you think about it. Don't. :)

I have read both Coupland books you have mentioned. I would add to that list the movie 28 Days Later. Okay, so a depression is more likely than raging zombies, but the feeling of each on their own, who to depend on, the desolation and danger is prevalent throughout the movie, particularly the beginning and ending. Oh, and the novella The Mist by Stephen King-another post-apocalyptic thing. Read the book before the movie.

I think that I think about the apocalyptic thing too much.

ahbahsean said...

Whatever people. I watched the first season of Jericho. I'm not sure we've got what it takes to have a corn harvesting party or a town BBQ after the bomb goes off... Grab your shotgun, protect what is yours, and realize we don't have time to dance in the fallout's time to hunker down.

g13 said...

thanks to one and all for joining in the conversation.

truth be told, i've really been taken with this question over the past few days and have been thinking about how important john perkins'- one of the grandfathers of the evangelical social justice/civil rights initiatives - emphases on reconciliation, redistribution and relocation would be if one wanted to build and sustain christian community during such (or any, really...) times. this line of inquiry has also made me want to due a little research on the okie experience, which touched my family as well as thousands of others, during the great depression.

in more optimistic moments, i suspect that such musings are closely related to the eschatological ("end times") thought that so animated my christian forbears and, not a few, contemporary fundamentalists. i've always suspected that eschatology is important, but have never found much life in studying doctrinal considerations of the aforementioned topic. hmmm...

btw - beck, you crack me up.