Christ Martenson’s Crash Course is all about exponential growth and realizing the convergence of several trends. Our world is in a mess. Our exponential growth appears to be coming up against the real limits of our planet (our ‘spaceship earth’ as Buckminster Fuller would image it). Change is upon us. How we transition in that change is up to us as families, communities and nations.
I see the website title “peak prosperity” as a bit of a pun. Martenson believes we have reached peak prosperity in the old economic growth paradigms. Martenson is also seeking to equip families and communities to maximize prosperity during the seasons of transition that are already upon us. A big theme is resiliency: the ability to bounce back and recover from catastrophic events; the ability to adapt to rapid changes. This is a valuable quality to be cultivated.
While overall I endorse Martenson’s project there are the following three areas where I wonder about the tone and approach of the Crash Course:
1. Worldview regarding Science. This is to say that I wonder about the view of the universe as a closed system. This is a very useful assumption and, from the human perspective, it is a necessary concept for modeling and exploring matter and energy. However, this assumption is not omni-competent for discovery in all areas of reality. There is one necessary qualifier: The Creator is sovereign and is able to intervene at any moment.
However, the Creator isn’t a magic genie whose bottle simply needs to be rubbed the right way for the Creator to do whatever we want the Creator to do, whenever we want it done. The Creator intervenes in the Creator’s timing and according to the Creator’s purposes. Thus, for the rest of us, who cannot create anything from nothing, it behooves us to treat creation with respect for finite limits.
It is prayer, in accordance with scripture, that attunes us to the Creator’s purposes, timing and intervention. It is prayer that brings us into intimacy with Jesus, the absolute ruler of the entire cosmos. Through prayer, in accordance with scripture, and in fellowship with Holy Spirit filled community, we find the avenues through which the Creator opens our minds to what the Creator is doing in history and we discover the Creator’s power to intervene at any time to create something out of nothing. We also discover our loving Heavenly Papa in the Creator’s eternal Triune community of being: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
2. Fear: While I believe that the earth is in crisis and approaching the limits of it’s natural carrying capacity; While I do not trust humanity, myself, or politics to rescue us from a coming collapse of civilization as we know it; There is no cause for fear. We are to live each day; to work each day; to love each day praying as our Lord teaches us to pray and working along with the Creator as the Creator works.
Fear is great for selling larders of dehydrated food, shot-guns, gold, and bug out vehicles, but our hope is in Jesus Christ. Our Help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Psalm 91 is much more pertinent to our situation in the world than than fear mongering and hoarding gold. Perhaps the Lord will lead us to prepare for chaos. In fact I think He is leading us to prepare. However, our preparations are to be calm and in line with the rule of God over our families, our communities, and this world. The way of the cross is not the way of the sword and it is not a way of fear.
3. Gold. Gold can be a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account. However, gold or silver in a vault doesn’t circulate. Thus, they do not stimulate the economy the way fiat currency can.
The idea that gold is of value is just as arbitrary as the idea of ‘token’ electronic or ‘paper’ (polymer =)) currency. Of course gold is pretty and it has some purposes as an electrical conductor etc. But you can’t eat it.
There is nothing intrinsically ‘good’ about a commodity currency, or a commodity as currency, versus a fiat currency. (Except that if the commodity itself is the currency, well you can use it or trade it. But remember, we can’t eat gold. Potatoes might be a more useful means of exchange……) There is nothing necessarily evil in the idea of a ‘Fiat’ currency.
What IS evil is enslaving people through debt and valuing ‘money’ of any sort over human beings and the Creator’s ecological systems.
Heavenly Father, Please awaken us to a proper stewardship of the earth you have given us and a proper love for our neighbours as we love ourselves, deliver us from our addiction to artificially discounted energy and to enslaving, debt based currency.
For everything but sunlight we must treat the earth as a closed system, because we do not have the power to create, only to transform what you have given us. But the world is not a closed system to you. We have abused our freedom and we deserve the consequences, but teach us repentance that we may work with you in the way you have designed the systems of this earth. You have told us to be fruitful and multiply but we have multiplied as a blight, destroying one another and other the creatures that you have put on this earth for your glory.
Teach us to love and value life, teach us to share our prosperity within the energy available to us, and most of all Lord, though we don’t deserve it, treat us in the economy of your gracious power rather than the economy of scarcity, poverty, plunder & fear that we create for ourselves as we worship our own constructs within our own perceived limitations.
SAVE US LORD! SAVE US! Creation groans in eager expectation of the revelation of your sons, transform us according to your faith that we may be faithful sons (and daughters who have full inheritance rights and authority as sons.)! Teach us to use the empowerment of your Spirit to exercise your loving will in overcoming all our idolatries, anxieties and addictions! Your name, Jesus, means salvation. SAVE US LORD! SAVE US!