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Blame it on the Christians...

Started by Prosperity, October 05, 2008, 01:20:18 am

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Prosperity

Foreclosures: Did God Want You to Get That Mortgage?  ...By David Van Biema Friday, Oct. 03, 2008
"Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants -- and hence, victims -- of the current financial crisis? That's what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity's central promise -- that God will "make a way" for poor people to enjoy the better things in life -- had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe "God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house." The results, he says, "were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers."
Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in Pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York: "The pastor's not gonna say, 'Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,' but I have heard, 'Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you -- if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you'll get that house or that car or that apartment.' " Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: "It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, 'If you give this offering, God will give you a house.' And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy." If so, the situation offers a look at how a native-born faith built partially on American economic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.
Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the Bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, the theology can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are "worthy of having more and doing more and being more." In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.
But Walton suggests that a decade's worth of ever easier credit acted like a drug in Prosperity's bloodstream. "The economic boom '90s and financial overextensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the Prosperity message," he wrote recently. And not positively. "Narratives of how 'God blessed me with my first house despite my credit' were common. Sermons declaring 'It's your season to overflow' supplanted messages of economic sobriety," and "little attention was paid to ... the dangers of using one's home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations."

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that Prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and they are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants' fortunes. Says Walton: "You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology." But he predicts they will persevere, since God's earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.
A recent publicly posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation -- it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on Scriptural promises of God. But the believer's note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. "Last Sunday," it read, "You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1,020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace."
And pray that the credit market doesn't tighten any further."

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1847053,00.html

sharonl

WOW - that opens a lot of eyes doesn't it.

I have friends who really believe like this. When we moved we bought a house about 1800 sq ft and had it moved to our acre of land on the lake - she came to visit me - we are in a neighborhood where most people have a lot of money and big houses - our house is fine, but not big brick houses like the rest - it is paid for and we have fixed it up nicely and doing just fine - her comment was
"I'm going to pray that God will give you the biggest and nicest house in the area" - I was a little crushed - we had worked so hard to get what we have and was very proud of it.

But they are always talking like the prosperity people - "I'm believing for this or that" - whether they can afford it or not - but just believe for it and God will give it to you.  I don't really believe it is meant to be like that - does anyone have a scripture that would make them believe this way? I know they tie it to faith - if you have enough faith to believe for it - you will get it.
Diamonds From Heaven - help for the hurting heart
http://gentle.org/sites/diamonds/
Beautiful gifts - the men love them http://chopsknives.com

Wordsmith

October 05, 2008, 12:46:54 pm #2 Last Edit: October 05, 2008, 03:01:44 pm by Wordsmith
I don't know why they point out Christians when they are
a very small minority involved in being ripped off from ARM loans. Faith
in God sometimes requires your committment to have patience,
faithfullness and obediance. And to recognize that if it isn't that
perfect gift coming down from the Father, it probably isn't all that perfect.

The story of how we bought our first home.

We lived in a State compound that provided housing. But we knew
that the State was eventually going to stop providing housing for state
employees. My husband figured that it would take about 2 years
before we we're notified that we would have to move. We also
knew that we wouldn't be able to have enough for a down payment
within the 2 years. So the next thing we did was pray to God about
our need, and put before God a 500.00 memorial before God that was
to be remembered at the end of 2 years. We seen nothing wrong with
it. We asked God to prepare the way that we would know that it was
his perfect gift from Him. As we got closer to the 2 year period, right on
time we got the letter from the State explaining that we would have to move. In the
mean time the interest rate had fallen to 4 percent. We worked during
that 2 year period of paying off  our credit cards, and anything that
might be a question on our credit report. When it came time to look for
a house, I reminded the Lord of the memorial we had set before Him
when the time was right. As if God needs reminding.. We found the house that we really liked, but
still didn't have the money in our possession to put down on it. But God
has never been late. We lived near Reno at the time, and my husband and
I were having breakfast at a small cafe in town, we were so exited discussing the house we had just found.  As we got up to leave, I was standing by the front door while my husband paid the bill  I stuck my hand in my coat pocket and found three quarters in my coat pocket, so on our
way out, I dropped the 3 quarters in a Mega Bucks machine, and won the
mini mania jackpot for 25,000 dollars, the required amount needed for our
down-payment. Some people might think it wasn't a perfect gift. But I dont see
it that way at all. Normally I never played. So my point is, we have to be willing to cooperate with God.
Be as loving as the Truth allows, even if it's
mis-interpreted,
because everyone  you meet is fighting
some kind of battle.

Sarah

OMG!  That's crazy funny and awesome!
Embraced by the loving arms of the Father....

sharonl

Quote from: Wordsmith on October 05, 2008, 12:46:54 pm
I don't know why they point out Christians when they are
a very small minority involved in being ripped off from ARM loans. Faith
in God sometimes requires your committment to have patience,
faithfullness and obediance. And to recognize that if it isn't that
perfect gift coming down from the Father, it's probably isn't all that perfect.

The story of how we bought our home.

We lived in a State compound that provided housing. But we knew
that the State was eventually going to stop providing housing for state
employees. My husband figured that it would take about 2 years
before we we're notified that we would have to move. We also
knew that we wouldn't be able to have enough for a down payment
within the 2 years. So the next thing we did was pray to God about
our need, and put before God a 500.00 memorial before God that was
to be remembered at the end of 2 years. We seen nothing wrong with
it. We asked God to prepare the way that we would know that it was
his perfect gift from Him. As we got closer to the 2 year period, right on
time we got the letter from the State explaining that we would have to move. In the
mean time the interest rate had fallen to 4 percent. We worked during
that 2 year period of paying off  our credit cards, and anything that
might be a question on our credit report. When it came time to look for
a house, I reminded the Lord of the memorial we had set before Him
when the time was right. As if God needs reminding.. We found the house that we really liked, but
still didn't have the money in our possession to put down on it. But God
has never been late. We lived near Reno at the time, and my husband and
I were having breakfast at a small cafe in town, we were so exited about the house we had just found.  As we got up to leave, I was standing by the front door while my husband paid the bill  I stuck my hand in my coat pocket I found three quarters in my coat pocket, so on our
way out, I dropped the 3 quarters in a Mega Bucks machine, and won the
mini mania jackpot for 25,000 dollars, the required amount needed for our
down-payment. Some people might think it wasn't a perfect gift. But I dont see
it that way at all. Normally I never played. So my point is, we have to be willing to cooperate with God.


Great story - but there is one thing - you did something also and didn't just sit back and say here I am God - bring it on - you prepared, you prayed, took care of bills outstanding, these are all getting ready for meeting your goal - so you are right - we have to be willing to cooperate with God.
Diamonds From Heaven - help for the hurting heart
http://gentle.org/sites/diamonds/
Beautiful gifts - the men love them http://chopsknives.com