HOPE – When Everything seems HOPELESS

May 17, 2016

2016-05-15 16.17.32

Hope That Makes a Real Difference

A short walk from our home in Liverpool is a cemetery where the inscriptions on a gravestone caught my attention:

In loving memory of Margaret Evans

Loving wife of Bill and devoted mother of Ted

Who fell asleep 6th July 1985 aged 60 years

“To find eternal peace with our Lord

O for one wish: To turn back the clock and reveal our true feelings”

Bill Evans

Husband of Margaret, father and good friend of Ted

Who fell asleep 22nd September 1988 aged 69 years

“Resting peacefully – The clock has turned”

This seems to encapsulate the essence of all that is true about authentic Biblical hope, and at the same time, all that can be utterly deceptive about false hope that is so often offered in this life. The inscription captures the poignancy of the pain that families can realize in death: Not only the loss of a loved one, but also the loss of the opportunity to let that loved one know just how they had been valued. This brings a desperate desire to have another chance to meet again and to put things right.

If the inscription was written in the genuine knowledge that these two were believers in Jesus Christ with a real hope of being reunited in the next life, then this is real hope. If believers, Bill and Margaret are now reunited in everlasting peace, and Bill has that opportunity to ‘turn back the clock’ and let Margaret know his true affection for her.

If the inscription is a vain effort to mask the pain that was felt when loved ones passed away then it was counterfeit hope. If they were not right with God, then they are far from resting eternally and recovering old losses, but separate and suffering eternal unending anguish.  We need to know the difference between these two opposites.

Hope is not wishful thinking, but a basis of expectation of the reality that lies ahead. Genuine hope makes a tangible and real difference. Real hope stimulates faith into life and feeds it. False hope feeds the emotions, and is temporary, ultimately disappointing.  Hope raises the heart, and the opposite, when hope is deferred, it makes the heart sick (see Proverbs 13:12).  Hope is intimately related to faith, as we all know from Hebrews 11:1, and we must study hope in this context.

There is a worldly view of hope that is closely related to a ‘lottery mentality’. This is captured in the phrase “hoping for the best”. It is a wishful thinking that is a mixture of delusion, escapism and is unrealistic.  A lack of hope is an absence of a way ahead; a complete lack of avenues to progress. The way the world has taught many people to seek hope is to simply wish for something better, and to dream of wonderful changes or great provision to fall upon them.

Life without hope is a struggle in which most things are negative or bring negative thoughts to mind. Every illness and event presents a possibility of terminal illness or catastrophe. Hope cuts off this pattern of thinking and draws a line on this way of viewing life and believing.

Once hope arrives, the number of options and positive possibilities opens up almost without limit. The person who is living in hope and thinking with an attitude of hope is making available an unending number of areas to explore. Hope brings a mindset that opens up tremendous variety and creative solutions to all challenges. A lack of hope closes possibilities down and reduces the horizon down to the immediate and impossible.

There is a wonderful insight into what hope does for us in the book of Proverbs:

Eat honey, my son, for it is good;

Honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.

Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul;

If you find it, there is a future hope for you,

And your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 24:13-14)

I love these short verses. In a few words this captures the sweetness of receiving wisdom for life, and how in doing so, we increase in hope and our future is opened up instead of being cut down.

When God began the process of creation there lay ahead a truly immense and wonderful diversity of materials, color, actions, movements, living beings, varied lives and events. We know that God created the earth and heavens by faith and His spoken Word. We should also reflect on the fact that as He was creating everything, He KNEW for certain what lay ahead. God created the cosmos with a perfect sense of hope for what was coming. Put another way, God was not wishfully longing for the things that lay ahead, but that being God, He was outside of the constraint of time and knew as a fact everything about the end from the beginning. I would say that this is what true hope is based on. Godly and Biblical hope is rooted in certain knowledge and a solid expectation rather than uncertain wishful thinking.

In every area of human life there is great value in working, planning, thinking and imagining within a framework of hope. A mentality of hope enables us in anything we care to think of, whether scientific research, politics or social planning or any everyday area of family life and work.

to be continued….

This post is a re-publishing of the chapter written by John D Manwell: “Hope that makes a real difference” which was first published in the book “HOPE – when everything seems hopeless” by Thomas P. Dooley, Mall Publishing Co. ISBN 1-934165-20-4

(C) Thomas P. Dooley 2008.  Used with permission

 

Whole Life – The Wellspring of Life

October 19, 2015

2012-09-27 17.46.09

The Maranatha Community has for a long time promoted a teaching of wholeness and shalom. They teach about healing society as well as individual’s bodies, minds and spirits.

In the growing clamour to find wholeness, personal peace and social cohesion we also need courage to reject some of the error which is being infiltrated into common thinking, such as Mindfulness which is a serious counterfeit – it’s actually Buddhism. (A thorough and balanced review of Mindfulness is available from Maranatha on their website.)

Maybe we need to rethink our approach to healing people and society, and surely we need to go beyond government expenditure? More money in health and public spending does not seem to have brought social inclusion or increased the health of our society. As I reflected on this over the past week I was delighted to discover that Jean Vanier was honoured this year with the Templeton prize for his work with weak and vulnerable people. He has tirelessly shown over decades of work with L’Arche that it is the ones who are weak who help to engender a just and balanced society.

For a generation we have seen the acceleration and promotion of the philosophy of death and acceptance of a culture of death. Since our society started to buy the lie from Nietzsche that “God is dead” we have begun to accept every argument that destroys family life and community cohesion and people’s identities have been stolen at a personal as well as community level. Aborting children for convenience has devalued life to the point that society has started to accept abuse of children after birth. One example of this was the way that the Paedophile Information Exchange gathered momentum in the 70’s and 80’s on the back of ‘social liberation’. Similarly, Marxist humanist thinking which has been intentionally used to attack the traditional family led to the acceptance of broken families as inevitable. Marx actually wanted to see the traditional family broken. The result? A fractured society which exacerbates mental illness, poverty and insecurity.

Recently a group of us have been led to develop a community project which has at its heart a desire to see whole person healing and growth. Family and community are the route to oneness and wholeness. Disconnection in our society has led to disintegration which is the start of the death process. Christians are called to reverse this process and to bring life. Life is found in wholeness, oneness, and integration. Life flows from the life giver, the Creator. May the whole church seize our calling to be carriers of life! The good news of Jesus Christ is not a philosophy designed to get people into buildings and then organise us into an institution! The good news is that the Creator has a plan for humanity. From Him comes the design of family, the glue of society, the redemption of our failure, and propagation of life. This good news is the very basis for rebuilding our society, laws, community and personal wellbeing.

Jean Vanier has given his life to the nurture, enabling and learning from the weak and vulnerable. The culture of death so highly promoted in our nation would have these same people aborted for ‘the greater good’. We need to rethink what wholeness really looks like.

We need to actively promote integration to reverse the disintegration; To bring wholeness as the antidote to brokenness; For the lonely to be joined into families. Jesus said that if anyone2012-09-27 17.44.04
comes to him, out of their innermost being would flow rivers of living water. Centuries before Jesus said this, the writer of the proverb wrote in anticipation: Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

For more information on Mindfulness – www.maranathacommunity.org.uk/resources.aspx 

For more information on the Maranatha Community  www.maranathacommunity.org.uk 

The Boy on the Beach

October 16, 2015
Imprint of Life

Imprint of Life

The horror of finding a drowned boy on a beach is more than a news headline to me. The recent ‘news’ photograph of a dead refugee child on a beach brought back awful memories for me.

Some years ago I was on holiday with family and friends and we went swimming in a lake on a hot day. The beach was developed for leisure and the section of the lake for swimming was partitioned off with a cable and floats. In fact many swimmers would swim out the 15 metres or so to the cable and hang onto it as a resting place. Children paddled on the sandy shore and older kids played on inflatables. Towards the end of the afternoon many families retreated to their BBQ and snacks. I took that opportunity to swim in the freed up expanse of water. As I did I became aware of a young man calling out across the water. I was immediately concerned: Calling to people from the shore is fine when there are people swimming or floating, but the lake was empty. I asked the young man what he was doing and he said he was looking for his cousin. I asked if the missing lad could swim, to which the reply was no. I raised the alarm and shouted to people to start looking in the adjacent woods in case he had wondered off that way. I then swam back and forth underwater urgently looking – knowing that every moment might be a matter of life or death. As I searched I hoped that I was over-reacting and that the boy would wander out of the woods any minute. Within minutes as I swam and stared through the murky lake water I saw a sight which will never leave my memory, the motionless submerged body of a young man.

With all my strength I hauled him up to the surface and held him afloat while trying to get to shore and shout for help at the same time. I dragged the heavy limp lad onto the dry sand and yelled for help. My friend took over with attempted mouth to mouth resuscitation. Although he, and then the paramedics, tried for a while, this was unsuccessful.

As I stood next to the lifeless boy, while every effort was made to revive him, I prayed, and asked God what this was about and why it had happened. I was painfully conscious that I, a strong swimmer, had been near this tragedy for the whole time. I felt God speak to me in that intense moment. The gist of what I heard was, ‘Many give the impression of being able to swim, and lack of accountability leaves them in danger of death.’

Accountability is not about someone being in control of us – but a relationship which guides and ultimately protects.

It seems that this young guy had probably worked his way along the cable – well out of his depth – and lost his grip. He must have thought it unlikely that he might let go of the cable – but one slip was deadly.

Lack of real relationships means that many in our disconnected world are giving the impression of being able to swim in life – but can’t really. Many are in mortal danger. Many know the language of knowing God and his salvation, but may be in danger of slipping off at any moment. Many act confidently but are disconnected and unsupported. In a world of flimsy connections on Facebook and Snapchat we  all need to ask whether we are in right relationships – life giving relationships.

If one person had asked that young man if he could swim; if one person had been watching when he slipped; I could have been that person and he might well be living life to the full right now. We are all accountable for those around us.

Imprint of life upon life

Imprints of Many Lives

The Bible says that ‘Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34) William Barclay translated the word ‘Righteousness’ as ‘Right Relationships’. God calls us to righteousness – let us pursue a right relationship with Him – which is possible through Jesus, and promote right relationships all around us – for the sake of life!

Immigration Crisis?

October 7, 2015

2014-06-16 19.41.06

Almost everything that can be said on the subject of refugees and immigration has been said in recent weeks. I should state my interest at the start: I am an immigrant to this nation and I married a daughter of an immigrant family.

Many people are wanting to come to the UK for economic reasons or for their safety and asylum. The UK is seen as a desirable place to live. We need to be quite clear on why this country is attractive and respond accordingly. Some people want to come to exploit weaknesses in our country or even to spread fear and violence. Unless we are clear about people’s motivations and what our own priorities are, we will not be able to respond in the right way.

We should encourage people who want to come to the UK – whether from Poland or Syria. We should be glad that our nation is so attractive to people around the world, and there are many great reasons this is the case. This nation is still a place of opportunity for business, for education and for families to thrive. There is still plenty of room for new people and we have a great history of absorbing people from many cultures into the ‘British way of life’. Who would have thought thirty years ago that the most popular dish in England in 2015 would be Chicken Tikka Massalla?

Many people coming from Romania, Poland, Syria and Iran are entrepreneurial, enterprising, ready to work, and often have a good education already. We should be glad of all these people wanting to get here.

Why do they want to come here?

The UK offers opportunity, economic prospects, stability, relative peace, generally good race relations, and access to the rest of the world, to begin with. This nation still upholds the rule of law, general respect for human life, children do not have to work to eat, and the police are generally unlikely to break into your home if your politics does not agree with the government! We should be delighted that we are enjoying all these reasons that people would want to come here.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that we have lost our way and disconnected from the values that gave us all these benefits. The disaster that is the secular humanist experiment which has promoted multiculturalism specifically to undermine our Christian heritage has left us disorientated. We should welcome newcomers on the clear basis of Christian hospitality. We have lost the confidence to call ourselves a Christian nation and with that we have lost the basis to require certain constraints on newcomers. It is not OK to promote the downfall of the nation; It is not OK to have multiple wives; It is not OK to expect to enjoy the peace and infrastructure of this nation and at the same time seek to undermine the traditions and culture. We need to recognise as a nation that it is Christian truth which defines the rule of law, the respect for human life, the respect of personal property and the protection of the family. It is Christian thinking which has promoted freedom of speech, children’s rights and increased freedom for women in society. We should be unashamed in requiring compliance with our traditional rights and culture by those who want to come and make a life in the UK.

It is bland, directionless multicultural, humanism which has led us into the confusion of attempting to be tolerant of every position and ultimately being intolerant of truth.

If we welcome people from around the world on the basis of Christian hospitality we will be the richer for it, newcomers will be blessed, and troublemakers will become obvious and more easily thwarted. Our Christian legacy is the compass we need in this stormy season!

The Whirlwind shaking America

October 2, 2015

I want to ask my American friends to excuse me for writing about your country. I know how irritating uninformed Brits can be! I feel compelled to write some of what I believe God showed me about the USA: This blog posting was prepared long before the awful events yesterday in Oregon.

In the Spring of 2012 I was on a business trip in the USA and I was given two very specific and related words from God about America. I believe this revelation was primarily to guide me in praying for this great nation. I felt that one instruction at the end of the ‘500 days’ (see earlier blog 3 days ago) is to share these words.

One morning in May 2012 I was clearly led to the following two scriptures:

Jeremiah 4v13

“Look, he advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined.”

Daniel 4v34

“At the end of that time I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.”

I believe that the first scripture was an announcement in the spirit realm of the releasing of a whirlwind in the life of America. There are moments when the restraining hand of God is lifted and we are released to the full consequences of our choices. I believe the whirlwind released ungodly legislation, social crisis, collapsing race relations, violence in the suburbs and schools, and increasing disconnection between political leaders and the people. This is happening and has been happening with extraordinary increase of pace since 2012.

This will continue and escalate until the promised restoration of sanity comes – as described in the second scripture.

In the account of Daniel, we see Nebuchadnezzar reaching a point of utter insanity. He has fallen from a place of greatness to the point where he has lost respect, was degraded, looked shameful in people’s eyes and was unkempt and had apparently lost his mind. In 2012 I felt this picture described how the leadership of the USA would cease to honour the true God, after formerly speaking well of God. The whirlwind spoken of in Jeremiah 4 would bring trouble after trouble and the leaders would lead the nation into debased insanity.

I felt the words that God was giving to me were a powerful word of warning followed by a huge promise of hope:

There is coming a moment of revelation where those who have chosen the path of such foolishness that leads to national insanity will suddenly realise the truth. The Truth about the Living God; The Truth about the destructive consequences of abandoning God; The Truth about God’s sovereignty in the life of the nation.

That moment of revelation will bring a restoration that seems too amazing to even be possible! This restoration is coming but can only follow the humbling of the people and the leaders with sincerity and true acknowledgement of the Sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I believe that God has not finished His purposes for the United States of America, but He will only take the nation to the next season on His terms. He does not compromise, and He will not share his glory with another. The best is yet to come, but first the whirlwind must do the work of undoing much that is in the way.

This moment of restoration is coming. We must pray – “Maranatha!” – Come Lord Jesus!

Evaporation of Trust

October 1, 2015
2015-07-23 21.36.17

Corroded Man

In the run up to the UK general election I was praying about the prospect of our democratic process coming under God’s judgement.(See yesterday’s post) The implications were serious. Commentators worked overtime on the potential outcomes. I felt the Lord saying that in the summer there would begin an “evaporation of trust”. I felt this referred not simply to trust in the government, but generally, at large in the world, the markets, in society.

Many would perhaps comment that this has been happening for a long time, and I agree with that. I think the image that I feel is helpful here is of a pot boiling dry. The hot pan on the flame can steam away for hours with the liquid reducing steadily. Even at the last few moments there is still liquid in the pan which could be poured out. Suddenly there comes a moment when the last of the liquid disappears and seems to vanish in a vapour. I think we are watching such a moment of vapourising.

Over years we have seen trust in government – local and national – diminish step by step, scandal by scandal. We sense that we have professional politicians who are seeking public office rather than public service. We suspect politicians and parties which promote vote winning policies rather than principles of conviction. In this way trust at the highest level has been eroded. Hundreds of thousands campaigned against the war in Iraq, and the government ignored the protest. Similarly hundreds of thousands petitioned against changes in marriage legislation and the government did not even acknowledge the petition. All this promotes the idea that government leadership is not to be trusted. In addition we have had scandals in the press, which has always been supposed to be the protector of liberty for the ordinary person; We have had banking corruption – with LIBOR rigging; The NHS has seen hospitals exposed for manipulating mortality rates; The police have had corruption and scandal with senior police officers being forced to resign; The Hillsborough enquiry exposed establishment cover ups and injustice; Church scandals have involved child abuse; child abuse by national celebrities has been revealed and seems to have been covered up at institutional level. The list goes on, but there is something fundamental changing. The underlying fabric of trust that joins all aspects of our society is now worn so thin that we are in danger.

Trust actually enables us to buy and sell. The piece of metal that we call a pound coin has value because we trust that someone will accept it to pay for a loaf of bread. The numbers on our cashpoint print-out are useful if we trust that we can spend what the numbers represent. We trust the system to transfer ‘our money’. We have confidence in the mortgage market to buy a house because we believe that the value will be kept over time. The word confidence comes from Latin words ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘fidere’ meaning ‘to trust’.

The Volkswagen scandal is a big example of trust evaporating in front of our eyes. VW – A trusted symbol of reliable engineering, disgraced in a day. There will be more. Today the news hints that TV manufacturers and other car manufacturers may have been gaming the environmental tests they are supposed to comply with.

The evaporation point which we are getting to is evaporation in confidence in the authorites, in the money supply, the markets, political processes, banking, technology,and the food chain. What next, the water supply, facebook, or our community leaders?

For generations our society has been built on essentially Judeo-Christian principles. That we are made in the image of God so should highly respect human life and limb. That we may not covet or steal, leading to respect of property ownership.  That telling the truth is valuable, so contracts have validity, and God honouring rule of  law is upheld. Without the fabric of trust which comes from honouring God and honouring one another at a national and personal level, we have nothing and disintegration follows.

The evaporation of trust is matter of grave seriousness for our politics, our social cohesion, and our stability as a nation. Only truth re-establishes trust.

Democracy Under Judgement

September 30, 2015

Presenting British Values document to the Prime Minister’s office January 2015

Early in this past ‘500 day journey’ (during 2014)I believe that I heard the Holy Spirit warning that the very process of democracy would come under His judgement in the United Kingdom and United States from  the UK general election in 2015 to the USA general election in 2016. I believe we are watching this happen.

I believe that this is a direct consequence of the way we have abused the God given freedom to choose our leaders and to collectively choose the policies of our nation. This is not simply judgement on the leaders, but we have ALL participated in selfish choices and voted with self interest. Many people have maintained loyalty to a party rather than challenge the status quo.

I believe that God finds it particularly obnoxious when Christians who are part of a different Kingdom are loyal to political parties rather than primarily advocating the perspectives of the Kingdom of God.

The political systems of human ways are limited and partial.

The excesses of capitalism when unrestrained by conscience or fear of God are destructive, greedy and create unacceptable inequality. This is part of what will be judged in the coming economic collapse.  The foolishness of socialism rooted in Marxism and secular humanism is also coming to the end of its tracks. The elevation of the state to godhead in the socialist model is also destructive and disconnects people from our own social responsibility. In this the socialist path is coming under judgement from Heaven.

I believe that the diminishing respect for politicians in the UK and USA is a direct consequence of the path we have chosen. One of God’s chosen routes to bring judgement is to give people over to their choices so that the consequences become obvious. This is always ultimately redemptive more than punitive.

I think we are seeing the judgement of God on our systems in our democracies in the UK and USA in the delusionary rise of Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump. Both these politicians are rising on a wave of dissatisfaction within a narrow sector of their countries. It is an illusion of something new, but is really is a reflection of how broken the system is. It is time to declare that the emperor has got no clothes!

Meanwhile, the electorates in the UK and USA are more concerned with celebrities, entertainment and sport than the principles of good government. So we either don’t vote or we vote for the party that seems to most protect our short term comfort.

After the coming crisis we will have to rediscover the principle and convictions that shaped our nations or succumb to an even greater evil than we have now.

500 days

September 29, 2015

499 days ago I believe God spoke to me about tomorrow (30 September 2015). I believe that God was talking to me in terms of a coming crisis.

I was in a meeting in which we were discussing the challenges facing the United Kingdom and the nations and some of the consequences of the choices we have made in this generation, and I believe that I heard God say “500 days” to me. Over the past 499 days (more than 16 months) I have prayed and considered what God was pointing to. I believe He has highlighted for me two things in particular about 30th September 2015:

Firstly I believe God has been speaking to me about his countdown and directing me to think in terms of the urgency of the state of our nation and the global situation in terms of days rather than months or years. It is a matter of life and death.

Secondly I believe that God is warning us of a coming crisis in this nation and globally. I don’t know if this related to a specific event on 30th September 2015 or if this date will be a turning point in the history of our nation. Such a turning point might be apparent in time to come when we look back.

As an aside I should say that at the time that God spoke the words “500 days” to me I was either unaware of the Blood Moons that many have talked about – or if I’d heard I was pretty sceptical of attaching importance to the dates of a particular lunar eclipse.

I believe that God is warning us of a tremendous increased shaking (Hebrews 12) which will take place in human affairs as a direct consequence of doing things which are contrary to His direction, and a shaking in the earth, outside of human control, which is the hand of God shaking rebellious nations. The purpose of the shaking is to stop humanity on the road of foolishness and take our eyes off materialism, secular humanism and the deception of evil beliefs. God is loving and for the sake of our eternal wellbeing will shake us in this life to interrupt our path toward even more destruction.

We are already in the place of a perfect storm which is about to break: The global debt position is like a rotten wood beam holding up a building. It is utterly rotten and barely able to take the load, and will suddenly give way without warning; The pursuit of secularism in the developed nations, and now also in many developing nations, is promoting a spiritual death and hopelessness which is a form of national suicide; trust is evaporating; families are fragmenting, and the glue which holds communities together is decayed. All this leaves the United Kingdom (and many others) in a highly fragile state. All this can be traced back to an abandonment of authentic Christian values and deliberate removal of God honouring principles in government and society.

The shaking which will escalate from now is the hand of God. He wants our attention and He wants our repentance. Repentance means turning from our chosen path of humanly constructed wisdom to His ways. Righteousness primarily means ‘right relationships’. Right relationship with God and right relationships with each other. Unrighteousness brings a people down – nationally, locally and in the home. Some things work and some things don’t. God’s ways work. Opposing God does not.

The consequences of our actions in this nation and globally are about to become even more obvious.

Over the next few days I will publish some of what I believe God has been speaking to me about in these 16 months.

Black Hole Economics

May 5, 2015

The following text was written by my friend Christopher Gibaud. I feel that it needs to be seen by as many people as possible:2015-01-19 12.32.10

We are in the fevered hysteria of the run up to the most uncertain election of our lifetimes.

As the politicians hurl their promises at us our experts seek to guide us through the economic confusion that most of us feel. Last week Robert Peston (1) analysed the potential for economic paralysis as a minority government tries to rule – investment hiatus in business, loss of confidence in markets, a destabilising fall in the pound, all leading to a big chill in economic activity. In last week’s Saturday Times the Economics Editor is bleak in his assessment of the next governments challenge:

“Make no mistake, a storm is brewing. The true state of Britain’s public finances is dire – far worse than suggested by the official figures….if the nation’s finances were subject to the same scrutiny as a company, the reported level of borrowing would almost double.” (2)

I have, for some time now, been asking myself a key question to which I have not been able to give an answer. The question is this: “How come there are so many conflicting views on the state of our economic health.” One day we are being told that we are well on the way to recovery, the next all is doom and gloom. The markets are behaving in unusual and volatile ways, economic and fiscal data confuse, central banks are working hard to restore liquidity and growth but the harder they try somehow the less they seem to achieve.

A few days ago I read a commentary on our global economic state that gave me an insight into why things are the way they are. John Mauldin is an economic analyst of our times with a global following and I receive his weekly letter (3). He advances the view that we are stuck in a liquidity trap, a situation where central banks are creating cheap and plentiful money, reducing interest rates to zero, but to far less effect than hoped for in stimulating economic growth. Why is this? Why is it the case that economic policies are not working? His point is that the liquidity trap we are in is particularly severe because it comes at the end of a debt super-cycle. Economists who study liquidity traps observe that the usual rules of economics appear not to apply in these conditions.

Mauldin has an intriguing way of describing our present economic situation. He takes us into the realm of physics, Einsteins Theory of General Relativity and the existence of Black Holes in our space/time continuum! He introduces us to the concept of Singularity, the point at which conditions become so extreme that normal rules cease to apply, outcomes become very uncertain. In Physics Singularity refers to the conditions in space where a large enough collapsing star will eventually become a Black Hole, an environment so dense that its own gravity will cause everything close to be sucked within.

Mauldin has developed a concept of Economic Singularity as a way of describing what is happening today in our global economy. An economic bubble of any type, but especially a debt bubble, is an emergent black hole in our economic environment. When it gets too big (at the end of a debt super cycle) it will, like the dying star in space, collapse in on itself and creates the black hole conditions which suck all our economic institutions within it. As it does so traditional economic modelling breaks down. Normal solutions can make things worse.

His contention is that we are now at the point where our financial markets are being sucked towards the black hole. Mathematical investment analysis (4) no longer makes sense in strategic planning. An example of this is the fact that 25% of European bonds now offer negative interest rates. As he says:

“How do your value equations work in an environment of negative yields? It becomes mathematically impossible for pensions and insurance companies to meet their goals, given their investment mandates, in a world of negative interest rates.” (5)

In Einstein’s Theory of Relativity the “event horizon” is that point at which the emergent black hole conditions become inevitable. It is “the point of no return.” Mauldin’s next observation is pretty chilling:

“I believe the world will soon find out that by holding interest rates down and allowing sovereign debts to accumulate past the point of rational expectation for being paid, in one country in Europe after another (Greece is just the first), central banks have pushed us past the event horizon, believing they have supernatural powers that will let the global economy escape the debt black hole that has been created by governments.” (6)

In debt super-cycle environments, central banking initiatives will increasingly fail to deliver results, even deliver the opposite of what is intended. They battle with two contradictory forces – expanding debt and contracting growth. Low rate interest policies increase the market’s appetite for risk. Businesses struggle to grow in such conditions, but growth can only come from business, not from central bank policies. Finally, there is always a limit to be reached for a country’s ability to borrow. It is delusional to say otherwise. The “bang” moment comes when the bond markets lose confidence in that country and its ability to repay. When that moment arrives the money runs out. Then we fall into the black hole, country by country, economic region by economic region, until the global economy itself is threatened.

Black Hole Economics is what happens when man, his appetites and his systems are unchecked and without boundaries. Too late we discover that, as we approach the point of no return, our previous understandings and methodologies no longer seem to work. The vortex opens before us. We need a system that protects us from ourselves, that prevents this crazy unchecked and uncontrollable slide towards chaos.

God knows our hearts. He created Jubilee to protect us from the consequences of foolishness and greed, to enable us to live generous lives of abundance. Jubilee eradicates Black Hole Economics.

 © Christopher Gibaud   April 2015

(1) Robert Peston, BBC News website, Business, 20th April 2015. “Why SNP matters to whole of UK.”

(2) Philip Aldrick, The Times, Saturday April 25th 2015. “We’ll need much more than an umbrella to shield us from the coming storm.”

(3) John Mauldin – Thoughts from the Frontline, April 20th 2015. http://www.MauldinEconomics.com

(4) Jubilee 8: Greed is Good – the Black-Scholes equation

(5) John Mauldin – Thoughts from the Frontline, April 20th 2015. http://www.MauldinEconomics.com

(6) John Mauldin – Thoughts from the Frontline, April 20th 2015. http://www.MauldinEconomics.com

 

Christopher Gibaud is a founder of the North West Christian Business Forum, a business network based in the North West of England, United Kingdom. http://nwcbf.org/

 

Shades of Grey

February 12, 2015

2015-02-07 17.11.51

 

 

The recent shootings in Paris and the various responses to the Charlie Ebdo campaign have highlighted that many people don’t know what to believe. It seems that our society has embraced so much relativistic thinking that we don’t know what is true anymore. In other words, we’ve accepted the idea that if something is true for you then you must live by that. The very notion of persuading anyone toward our beliefs has become anti-social! Recently I heard a programme on BBC Radio 4 talking about language change over time, and how in the past generation words relating to obligation and authority have become less popular. In the Bible Paul hints at this type of culture in his warning of mocking and rebellious attitudes in the last days. In all this, the Church has lost much of her confidence in the very concept of truth. The Church seems to be more fractured than ever when it comes to the matter of truth. One casualty is our collective confidence. We don’t really want to speak out on anything in case we cause offence. No-one is quite sure who should speak anyway. If any significant leader expresses an opinion on anything, the foaming seas of Facebook and Twitter will certainly bring out some destructive comments from within our own ranks!

 

However, there are growing areas of consensus: The desire for the church to express the love of God in a hurting world; The recognition that an important prophetic cry is to speak up for the poor and marginalised. Perhaps there is an emerging awareness that the core motivation of the Church must be to be like Jesus? Jesus was and is confident. He knows what he believes and he speaks out unafraid of being misunderstood and yet starts from love and compassion. When we search for absolutes in a confused world let’s take a lead from St Paul: “I know who I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have entrusted to him.” As we know Him, our confidence rises up!

 

This article appeared previously as an editorial for Harvest magazine, published by Together for the Harvest in Merseyside.http://www.tfh.org.uk/