- Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons - http://ericsammons.com/blog -
Root of all evil
Posted By Eric Sammons On May 22, 2009 @ 8:52 am In Finances | Comments Disabled
If you want a microcosm of how we got in the economic mess we are in, look no further than this article  by New York Times writer Edmund Andrews. Andrews, an economics writer for the Times, tells the personal story of his own slide into deep debt. His story, alas, is all too common, and it starts and ends with a bad mortgage:
Patty discovered a small but stately brick home in a leafy, kid-filled neighborhood in Silver Spring, Md. We sent in an offer of $460,000 and one day later got our answer: the sellers accepted. I felt both amazed and exhilarated, convinced that the stars had aligned for us. I loved the house as soon as I saw it. It was one block from a school and a park. My boys would be within a 15-minute drive, and it would be easy for them to come over and stay whenever they wanted.
The only problem was money. Having separated from my wife of 21 years, who had physical custody of our sons, I was handing over $4,000 a month in alimony and child-support payments. That left me with take-home pay of $2,777, barely enough to make ends meet in a one-bedroom rental apartment. Patty had yet to even look for a job. At any other time in history, the idea of someone like me borrowing more than $400,000 would have seemed insane.
For those who live outside the DC area, a $460,000 house might sound like a mansion, but I can assure you that in late 2004, that would not get you a very large house in the Silver Spring area. So Mr. Andrews was not purchasing a “McMansion,” nor was he getting acres and acres of land. Yet by any historical measure, he was buying a house way over his means – and he was able to do so easily.
I have sympathy for Mr. Andrews, I really do. He recognizes his mistakes and he doesn’t blame anyone else for them. But he clearly got caught up in a wave that pulled thousands of people with it.
What I find most disappointing about the overspending America has engaged in is that Christians have acted no differently than the general population. We too felt that we “needed” a large house, large cars, and large vacations. For all the warnings against money in the Bible (and they are legion), we didn’t show any more financial responsibility than the average non-believing American. Can you imagine the witness we would have had if we had all refrained from such profligate spending and instead used our excess income to help those truly in need?
If the Gospel does not change how we live, what is the point of it?
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/05/22/root-of-all-evil/
URLs in this post:
 this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/magazine/17foreclosure-t.html
 subscribe to my RSS feed: http://ericsammons.com/blog/feed/
Copyright © 2010 Divine Life - A Blog by Eric Sammons. All rights reserved.