The economy sucks. I know that.
For one, I own a home in California. A home that has lost about $300,000 in equity in the past 2 years.
Secondly, we don’t even open our retirement portfolio anymore because it makes El Chupacabra very, very cranky. I’m pretty sure we owe Wall Street money. Our future as shriveled up old people racing electric scooters through a crowded mall looks bad. Really bad.
AND third, I’m a support based missionary which means that I feel it deeply on a daily basis, right in my back pocket, when the economy takes a nose-dive.
So, what I’m saying is, I get it. I know that it’s bad. CNN tells me it’s bad. My In-laws, and my missions pastor, and my paycheck all tell me on a regular basis that the economy is horribly, terribly, awfully bad.
When we’re in the states. It just didn’t seem that bad.
El Chupacabra and I had a running joke about the economy. Like if we couldn’t find a parking spot - out of 3 million parking spots - at Target, or Old Navy, or at any of the 3 malls we went to - one of us would say something like, “Man, this economy is terrible.”
And then we would snicker. (Yes, we’re kind of evil.)
But the thing is, while we saw a bunch of for sale signs, and some vacant store fronts, we also never - not even once - walked into a restaurant where we didn’t have to wait for a table. We never walked into an empty shopping center. We were never the only people in line...well...anywhere!
Basically, we saw lots and lots of shoppers spending lots and lots of money. We saw tons of brand new stores in giant, busy malls that had remodeled, added entire wings, and parking structures, and all that stuff. Buses and light-rail were moving along empty, no one was walking or biking or doing any of the things I had anticipated seeing in light of the dank economy. Everywhere we went, people were carrying disposable Starbucks or Pete’s cups instead of home-brew in a travel mug.
Is everyone crazy? Am I crazy? Or is the economy in the crapper, and people are losing their houses in order to keep their habits? Are people who have lost their jobs still buying $4 coffee?! Or, is it just not as bad as everyone says? I’m just so confused...I guess I thought, after hearing so much, for so long, about how "different" things are now, that it would actually look different. Ya know?
Has the current economic climate affected you, personally? Have you been forced to make changes in order to accommodate a different lifestyle? Are there changes you should have made, but haven’t because the “habit” means too much to you?
And what does all this look like for those of us who follow Christ? How would you feel if your church said,"We aren't going to serve free coffee on Sunday mornings any longer." or "Sorry, we just can't afford to support our missionaries anymore." ?
What's your take on all of this?