By: SR Shearer

How many times have Republicans and their Christian allies insisted that there is no funding for hospitals, schools and social services, when all the time they know that the cost of a military aircraft is $50,000 per hour, per aircraft - Sorry, Mr. Smith we cannot afford your cancer treatment, I am afraid you will have to die. We regret to inform you, Mrs Jones, that there are no funds available to help you and your family find housing — you will have to sleep in your car tonight. I am sorry to tell you that your unemployment benefits have run out, Mrs. Peterson.

This is the reality that millions and millions of Americas are facing — AND IT IS NOT GOING TO GET BETTER, IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE. How you deal with this crisis will reveal the true nature of your Christian character, whether its real or just so much "talk."


Christians, whether they want to confront the fact or not, are facing a disaster that will not go away, and if it has not caught up with them by now, it soon will — one way or another: We are speaking here of America's — and, indeed, the world's — economic crisis. Despite all the "happy talk" about a recovery, the economy is once again sputtering, and unemployment claims have tipped 400,000 for the last seven weeks. The jobless rate is presently stuck at 9.1 percent, which means that REAL unemployment stands close to 20 percent. [Please see our article, "A Permanent 30% Unemployment Rate for the United States."]

4.2 million Americans have been unemployed for one year or longer at this point, and there are very few signs that the employment situation in the United States is going to improve any time soon.

Even for those who remain employed, rising food and gas prices are eating away at their income. The chart below illustrates how the lower income groups in the U.S. really get squeezed when food and gas prices rise. In the U.S. the average annual income for the consumer units (households) measured is $62,857, where food expenditures consume a little over 10 percent of income.

But averages distort the true picture of what is really going on as only 15 percent of consumer units fit into this income group. Almost one third of the households in the U.S. spend close to or more than 20 percent of their annual income on food — and when the cost of food and gas rise for these people, it is devastating.

In addition to all that, Americans are in the middle of the worst housing collapse in U.S. history - and unfortunately it is going to get even worse. Already, U.S. housing prices have fallen further during this economic downturn (26 percent), then they did during the Great Depression (25.9 percent).

Approximately 11 percent of all homes in the United States are currently standing empty. In fact, there are many new housing developments across the U.S. that resemble little more than ghost towns because foreclosures have wiped them out. Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures reached new highs in 2010, and it is being projected that banks and financial institutions will repossess at least a million more U.S. homes during 2011.

Moreover, because unemployment is rampant and wage levels are going down at a time when mortgage lending standards have been significantly tightened there are very few qualified buyers running around out there and that is going to continue to be the case for quite some time to come. When you add all of those factors up, it leads to one inescapable conclusion. The "housing Armageddon" that we have been experiencing since 2007 is going to get even worse in 2011.

This chart shows the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index value for 10 US cities, starting in 2000. The latest data, from March 2011, show that home prices in the Composite-10 index are close to the lowest levels since the housing collapse started in 2006.

Countless numbers of Americans who "own their homes" are in danger of default on their mortgages, and many will soon be on the street — and this isn't counting those who are in danger of being evicted from rental properties.


AM New York Radio reports on what all this means in the REAL lives of ordinary people, for example -

"The nurse who is taking your temperature may have no bed to sleep in when she goes off shift and the waiter bringing you your entrée may be schlepping his belongings from an intake center to a city shelter in a black plastic bag.

"Homelessness has clawed its way tenaciously into the ranks of the employed, enveloping a growing number of families, couples and working people.

"According to a New York City census that is published on the website for the Coalition for the Homeless, the ranks of the homeless have diversified to include:

Parque offers the following REAL-LIFE examples:

Latrell Reagan - Registered Nurse

Latrell Reagans

Latrell Reagans, 39, an employed registered nurse, wonders, still, what she could have done to prevent her family's tumble into the unthinkable.

Maybe she could have skimped on school fees for her six kids, not bought them as many toys, clothes or books. But the steep medical insurance co-pays for the nebulizers and asthma medications for the kids seemed non-negotiable, as did the breathtakingly high Con Ed bills that sometimes soared to more than $1,000 a month.

"We had air conditioners in each of the kids' rooms because they have asthma and we had to keep the air cool and clean," she sighed.

When her husband, Darren, lost his messenger job in 2009, and was denied unemployment benefits, "there were times we didn't pay the rent," and the Reagans lost their purchase on their economic soil.

The marshall "was very nice," when he came to put the yellow tape on her apartment door on February 26, recalled Reagans, who was at the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing Office in the Bronx with her daughters, Larren, 8, and Chanelle, 4.

"He waits for you to gather your things. The landlord changes the lock while you're there" and you are launched into a world of uncertainty with frightened kids in tow, she said.

Two of the older kids went to stay with friends temporarily as the rest of the Reagans bounced from shelter to shelter. Reagans was at the PATH Office because the family was kicked out that morning from their third shelter, having been deemed ineligible to receive housing assistance.

"They want us to go stay with my mother-in-law," said Reagans. "But there are seven of us (an older son is in college) and she's in New York City housing with her husband, her daughter and two other grandchildren who are not on the lease. She could be put out, too."

Being homeless "is very hard emotionally," acknowledged Reagans. Besides having to deal with the anger and anxiety of her children, her own job has been disrupted by the Kafkaesque exigency of having to respond to "notices that give you no notice," about her appeal, and emergency after emergency. "Every time I come here, I can't go to work," said Reagans, "and I'm per diem," which means losing a day's pay each time she is summoned.

Prayer helps, said Reagans, who is Baptist. But the newspaper headlines about the recession resonate like they never did before.

"You never know who homelessness will hit next," mused Reagans.

It's not just a black phenomenon anymore - more and more so-called white middle-class families are ending up in homeless shelters, that is, if they are lucky enough to find one.

The Robinsons

"We've seen a few Asian people at the shelter," said Lisa Robinson, 22, with a rueful laugh. "You think they can always go back to their family or they're good at managing money," but anyone can find themselves displaced, said Lisa, who is of South Korean descent.

Her husband, Dannie Robinson, 29, was expecting the shelters they've bounced around in to be filled with "bummy people and drug addicts and people who couldn't cope with society, but there are lots of normal, genuine people — they just hit a rock and got a flat tire.

"A lot have been to college," added Lisa.

Dannie, a published poet, and Lisa, were enjoying a life that included gym memberships and beach trips while working as food servers in Sumter, S.C., when they both lost their jobs. Unable to pay their share of the rent, their apartment's primary lessor kicked them out. They headed to New York in February, hoping that its comparatively robust economy would reward them with jobs.

Jobs they eventually found: They were both recently hired at Chili's but have yet to be able to amass enough money to put a deposit on an apartment. They rapidly burned through their savings paying off bills to preserve their credit. "If you have bad credit, you're really screwed" because landlords won't rent to you, said Dannie.

They were at the Parkview Shelter in Manhattan, but found ineligible for services because Lisa's previous roommate failed to verify she had lived there. Then they went to the El Camino in Jamaica, Queens and were kicked out again for being ineligible. "They tell us it's our burden" to provide proof that doesn't exist, Lisa sighed.

"We've had to sleep on the train twice," said Dannie. "We met another family found ineligible ten times. How can you take care of business and get back on your feet" when you have no place to go at night?

Once high-paid computer programmers are now employed as "drudge workers" for minimum wage.

Evelyn Rosa

The most Evelyn Rosa, 48, made in one year was $250,000.

She was earning $90,000 a year when she was laid off from her job as a computer programmer after a series of post- 9/11 bank mergers and layoffs.

Now, Rosa makes $10 an hour selling Skyride tickets outside the Empire State Building while doing intermittent contract work in web design.

"No one wants employees anymore because they don't want to pay benefits," she said.

Since February, she's been crashing with her 82-year-old mother. The apartment is a one-bedroom and Rosa lives in the living room. Her belongings are arrayed in stackable cubes.

Even if Rosa's employer gave her 32 hours a week, $10 an hour "is not enough to get an apartment," she said. Plus, earning a bit more would make her ineligible for food stamps, Medicaid and the $66 cash benefit she gets in public assistance every two weeks, leaving her even more destitute.

Her experience, she said, has taught her that "nothing lasts. The American dream is out there, but it's no longer for working class people."


Now listen to me very carefully here: the situation that we have described above is only going to get worse, and those Christians who think they can "pray themselves out of the poverty they face" are making a big mistake.

The fact of the matter is, the church is being sifted, and the economic crisis that is slowly settling itself on the world is the means through which it is being sifted. How you deal with this process will determine which side of the sifting process you will end up on — and remember here, it's not what you say that counts, but what you do.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:23)

The economic crisis is only getting worse, and how a Christian deals with it will reveal a lot regarding the true nature of his Christianity.

Now, please pay attention here? - How does a rich man ever know that he is truly loved? The sad truth is, he doesn't so long as he retains his wealth. But should he lose it, then he will find out. Great crowds of people followed Jesus so long as he fed them and healed them of their diseases. But when tribulation arose because of the Word He spoke, the crowds disappeared.

Oh, to be loved because of who you are, and not just because of the "things" you have! This is the love that God desires from those who follow Him. It is the love that Ruth gave to Naomi, and this even after Naomi had asked Ruth to depart from her because she [Naomi] had nothing further to give Ruth - she no longer possessed any "things" with which to "purchase" Ruth's love:

"But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me'." (Ruth 1:16-17)

Oh, to be loved because of who you are, and not just because of the "things" you have! This is the love that God desires from those who follow Him. It is the love that Ruth gave to Naomi.

The Lord is looking for such to follow Him - those that will follow after Him long after the "things" are gone, the crowds have left, the popularity faded; when the clothes are tattered and torn, there is no food on the table, and persecution rages all around. These are the disciples of Jesus - with such people one can repose trust and friendship, true love is here to be found!

These are the disciples who can say with the prophet Habakkuk:

"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock be cut off from the fold, And there be no heard in the stalls - YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)


God bless you all!

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries









Then make copies and take these copies out to the campuses where you live; pass them out; OR if that seems too "daring" for you right now, post them on telephone poles, the sides of buildings, on campus bulletin boards; post them in union halls, in the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden, near employment offices, wherever you can.

Once again, we URGE you to read (or re-read):