Racing towards the fiscal cliff January 1, 2013….What kind of future are we headed for?

Racing towards the fiscal cliff January 1, 2013….What kind of future are we headed for?

Tom SineAs we move beyond the American presidential election we are facing a serious new economic challenge.  This challenge will not only impact those of us who live in America but indirectly on those all countries.  If president Obama and the Republicans don’t find a way to resolve their differences regarding the economy by January 1 the US could slip back in a major recession that would have a serious negative impact on the entire global economy.

Last week Christine and I had the opportunity to speak to Professor Caleb Rosado’s class in urban sociology at Warner Pacific College in Portland Oregon about this coming challenge.  I said to the class let’s assume our leaders on both sides of the aisle do find a reasonable way to avoid the drastic automatic cutbacks.  It will still mean that there are likely to be serious cutbacks in some federal services to the poor and the middle class. Which will mean more pain for many of our neighbors in the next few years.

New Poverty Data Provide Key Insights into Fiscal Cliff Negotiations 


There are also likely to be increasing cutbacks to state funding in services as well since too many states are also spending more than their income from taxes too.  I find that many Christians, including those involved in urban ministries, are not aware that we are also likely to see a serious decline in funding for church and para church ministries to those in need.

Why? Because the church in the US is in decline like the church in all other western countries.  Not only mainline denominations but 23 of 25 evangelical denominations in the US are now in decline.  Declining numbers will result, of course, in declining giving to urban ministries as well as everything else in the coming decade.

What kind of a future are we headed for?  Somehow we will likely avoid the full peril of the fiscal cliff.  But as we race into this volatile decade 2012 to 2022 we are likely to continue to see not only a widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of us.  But we are likely to see a serious decline is services to our neediest neighbors because of these coming cutbacks.

What are your ideas of how followers of Jesus can imagine new ways to be something of God’s compassion in tough times like these?  I would like to hear your creative ideas!