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The meltdown of Western civilization as we know it

It’s past midnight and I just got off the phone with a friend who has been very successful in business.  He began the conversation by saying, “I’m watching the meltdown of Western civilization as we know it.”   He and I love to talk about economics when we’re not talking about missio…
By Seth Barnes
It’s past midnight and I just got off the phone with a friend who has been very successful in business.  He began the conversation by saying, “I’m watching the meltdown of Western civilization as we know it.”
 
He and I love to talk about economics when we’re not talking about missions.  So, this was a normal opening to one of our conversations.
“What do you mean?” I responded.
 
“I’m reading the news tonight.  Look at how it’s going: Lehman Brothers is filing for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch is sold, and Greenspan is saying that the current crisis is the worst in a hundred years, including the Great Depression.”
 
“He said THAT?!” I began to search Google News for the quote.  There it was – Greenspan is not optimistic.  This is the guy who used to raise an eyebrow and the market would jump a hundred points.  “How are the markets responding?”
 
“The Dow is down 360 in overnight trading.”
 
The conversation went on from there. In another life I used to invest money and follow the markets. I came up with an options arbitrage model that, when my buddy Vern Howard and I presented it, won a competition at the business school we attended.  But this is my past, not my future, and not where I want to focus this blog.  I bring it up because these events will affect the way we all live our lives.  And, among other things, at AIM, it will impact our ability to feed a thousand orphans who depend upon us in Swaziland or to send thousands of students on missions.  We’ve been working hard to cut costs over the last year to be as ready as we can.
 
So, I’m writing this blog at 1:30 a.m. and I’ve already sent an email to AIM’s leaders alerting them to the fact that I believe life will be changing for all of us in the near future.  I asked Steve Basden to make sure that any cash AIM has is transferred to our account in Bank of America, which, along with Wells Fargo, is conservative in its policies and is likely to weather any crunch.  And I suggested that they get out of the market with any savings if it’s not too late. Of course there’s always the chance that Fed could surprise us as it did the last time I warned of a drop in the market. And I’ve been wrong before.
 
But what’s the bigger picture here?  I think it’s encapsulated in the last paragraph of my memo to our leaders:
 
“Let’s pray and ask the Lord how he’d have us respond in terms of the ministry. The good news is that people will be turning to God and looking for hope in record numbers. The world’s marketplace may be going to hell in a hand basket, but the demand for our work will have a bull market! The Kingdom is coming – the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.”
 
It may look bleak, but we have nothing to worry about.

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