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The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

March 2008

Economic Slide

Economists looking at the Unites States economy are using the word "recession."

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has said that the outlook for the US economy in 2008 has worsened.

His comments in Washington come after leading investment banks warned that the US was heading for a recession.

However, Mr Bernanke said the central bank was willing to act in a decisive and timely manner to ensure the economy remained on an even keel. ("Fed boss says 2008 outlook worse," BBC News (www.news.bbc.co.uk), Jan. 11, 2008

When a group of community volunteers rang the bell to signal the close of trading at the New York Stock Exchange last Friday, it brought to a close one of the most tumultuous weeks in global markets since the fall of 2001. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average, already down 9 percent in 2008 on glum economic news, plummeted nearly 600 points (5 percent) before rallying after the announcement of an emergency three-quarter-point interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve, the biggest such reduction in 24 years. Wednesday was like Groundhog Day, with the Dow falling more than 3 percent before closing with a gain. ("The U.S. Economy Faces the Guillotine," www.newsweek.com, Feb. 4, 2008 issue)

The Great Global Market Freak-Out of 2008 has everyone asking whether the United States—already on the road to recession—is entering into a protracted period of economic trouble where jobs will be slashed, prices will continue to rise and the dollar will keep falling; and if so, whether the declining U.S. economy will pull the rest of the world down with it. (ibid.)

Inspired Commentary

It appears the current economic troubles have resulted to a large degree from excesses and greed. But Christians don't have to participate individually. And if the situation becomes dire enough, it may trigger prophesied religious developments.

Eating, drinking, and dressing are carried to such excess that they become crimes, and are among the marked sins of the last days, and constitute a sign of Christ's soon coming. Time, money, and strength, which are the Lord's, but which He has entrusted to us, are wasted in needless superfluities of dress, and luxuries for the perverted appetite, which lessen vitality and bring suffering and decay. It is impossible to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God, when they are filled with corruption and disease by our own sinful indulgence. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 61)

Uncertainty About Future Hurricanes

Weather forecasts become more uncertain the further they try to predict into the future. When it comes to future hurricanes, the level of concern rises.

Although weather experts generally agree that the planet is warming, they hardly express consensus on what that may mean for future hurricanes. ...

A study released Wednesday by government scientists was the latest point of contention.

The study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Miami Lab and the University of Miami postulated that global warming may actually decrease the number of hurricanes that strike the United States. Warming waters may increase vertical wind speed, or wind shear, cutting into a hurricane's strength. ("Global Warming Enters Hurricane Debate," www.tbo.com (Associated Press on Tampa Bay Online), Jan. 24, 2008)

Another prominent researcher however, disagreed with the propositions made by the study:

Greg Holland, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said the new paper was anything but seminal. He said "the results of the study just don't hold together."

Holland is among scientists who say there is a link between global warming and an upswing in catastrophic storms. He said other factors far outweigh the influence of wind shear on how a storm will behave. (ibid.)

Inspired Commentary

Some day efforts to assuage fears about the future will become futile:

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:25-27)

College Endowments

New figures on university endowments confirm it's not just the "haves" and "have nots" in academe these days. Beyond the great majority of colleges, there's a growing group of the newly rich schools, and — at the top of the heap — a tiny cadre of ultra-wealthy institutions.

The latest endowment figures from NACUBO, a college business officers' group, highlight the growing prosperity but also the stratification among elite universities. That development is creating tension.

There are now 76 colleges and universities with endowments that have passed $1 billion - including 16 new members of that club like Georgetown and the Universities of Oklahoma and Missouri.

But five at the top each have nearly $6 billion more than any school outside that group: Harvard ($34.6 billion), Yale ($22.5 billion), Stanford ($17.2 billion), Princeton ($15.8 billion) and the University of Texas system ($15.6 billion). The survey marks the end of the most recent fiscal year, which at most schools ended last June 30, so the numbers don't reflect the recent downturn in the stock market. ...

There is a "tremendous dispersion in wealth from the people right at the top to the lesser ones," said Ronald Ehrenberg, an expert on higher education economics at Cornell. "It falls off very, very quickly." ...

Harvard now pays full professors on average about $177,000, compared to about $106,000 at the average public research university. ("College Endowments: Rich Get Richer," The Associated Press, Jan. 24, 2008)

Inspired commentary

With great wealth comes great stewardship responsibility. The appropriate question might be not why should there be great wealth, but how is the wealth being used.

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'

"So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:16-21.

Christians Persecuted in India

A new report confirms what Christians in India already feared: 2007 was the worst year since their nation's independence in 1947 for attacks on Christians.

The report from Compass Direct cited statistics compiled by the All India Christian Council in confirming that the number of attacks on Christians in 2007 surpassed 1,000 for the first time in India's history.

At least 200 anti-Christian attacks, including four murders, had been documented before the recent violence erupted in Orissa State's Kandhamal district, the report said. There, at least another four Christians were killed and about 800 attacks were reported. At least 730 homes and 95 churches were burned, the report said. ("Attacks on Indian Christians exploding," WorldNetDaily.com, Jan. 11, 2008)

Inspired commentary

Jesus predicted that those who seek to follow Him would be persecuted:

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:9-14

Page created:02/24/08. Updated: 02/24/08
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