The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

July 2009

Disaster Risk Increasing

The outlook for frequency of "natural" disasters is bleak according to the following news item:

The risk of disaster worldwide is increasing, says a new UN report.

Climate change, environmental degradation and badly planned urban development more likely to affect populations around the world.

The report warns that millions of lives are in jeopardy because proper risk assessment is rarely carried out, particularly in developing countries. ...

The Asian tsunami of 2004, or last year's earthquake in China are natural phenomenon which can't be prevented.

But the Global Assessment on Disaster Risk Reduction says there is a lot we can do to reduce our own risk - the problem is, we aren't doing it.

We already know that climate change means more extreme weather events - but the UN's Assistant Secretary General Margareta Wahlstrom says most countries have failed to look at how that will affect their own towns and cities ("Disaster risk increasing, says UN," BBC News (, May 16, 2009).

Inspired commentary

The Bible predicts overwhelming events in nature that will be seen as signs and that will produce fear (in place of arrogance?) on the part of mankind.

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).

Economic Recovery?

While some see signs of economic recovery from the current depression, not all commentators share the same enthusiasm.

Economic spring is in the air. The employment numbers, the banking sector and the housing markets have media commentators cheering. Ben Bernanke sees " shoots" sprouting. " Optimism builds," the Financial Times says. "[T]he situation has improved dramatically." Media analysts note that the stock market's winning streak has extended more than two months— 30 percent!

Is it time to celebrate and break out the champagne? Caution: Misplaced optimism is common during the early stages of "great recessions." This recession is looking a lot like 1931. That disastrous year began with green shoots too. More than ever, consumers need to prepare for worse years ahead.

But what has the market so enthused? What has improved? Are employers hiring again? Has America's decimated banking sector magically returned to health? Have home prices stopped falling? ...

The most recent little green bud of hope was in the April jobs report: Fewer Americans lost jobs than we expected.

Yes, official unemployment still rose to its highest rate in 26 years— 8.9 percent. Yes, we still lost 539,000 jobs. But that was less than the previous month's 699,000 losses. So the market cheered and commentators speculated that April showers will bring May flowers.

There is no doubt that April's job numbers were an improvement over March, but losing more than half a million jobs in one month is nothing to get excited about ("Green Shoots Without Roots,", May 19, 2009).

US employers cut 345,000 jobs in May, the US Labor Department has said, far fewer than expected and the lowest monthly job loss since September.

The number of job losses in March and April was also revised down to 652,000 and 504,000 respectively.

The latest data provides further support to those who believe that the US economy is over the worst.

However, the US jobless rate rose to 9.4% in May, the highest since 1983, up from 8.9% in April ("Pace of US job cuts slows in May,", June 5, 2009).

Inspired commentary

Considering the ways that a Holy God used in Old Testament times to get people's attention, one might suspect that God has some messages for mankind in the current economic downturn, suggested causes for which include greed and fraud on the part of sub-prime mortgage lenders.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness (Isaiah 55:1, 2).

Gay Pride Month

June has been declared a special month by the President:



Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism. ...

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists (, June 1, 2009).

Inspired commentary

Inspiration has a few things to say about pride, not to mention the behavior some are proud of:

When men choose to have their own way, without seeking counsel from God, or in opposition to His revealed will, He often grants their desires, in order that, through the bitter experience that follows, they may be led to realize their folly and to repent of their sin. Human pride and wisdom will prove a dangerous guide. That which the heart desires contrary to the will of God will in the end be found a curse rather than a blessing (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 605, 606).

He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of his shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give (Steps to Christ, p. 30).

Of the nations of earth today who in arrogance and pride array themselves against Him, God inquires, "To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth." Verse 18 (Prophets and Kings, p. 366).

Page created:08/08/09. Updated: 08/08/09
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