Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Why Does This Story Keep Showing Up?
There's much talk of the world being back in 1929, another Great Depression. For some, it is more like 1849.I think the "source" for this story which has appeared several times as the price of gold has shot up tells most of the tale. There is a group of people out there that wants to sell pans and picks, and this reporter is more than willing to assist them.
Back then, hundreds of thousands flocked to California in search of their fortune after gold was discovered there, founding the iconic image of men standing knee-deep in water, desperately sorting away the sediment in search of treasure.
Now, there are tentative signs of a new gold rush in the US, according to the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA).
I am always amazed at get rich quick schemes. They almost never work, and even when we think they work, they don't work. Most gold rushes historically only enriched a few people. I have a fascination with the mining industry. Back in the late '80's I spent several year working heavily in the US gold mining industry. It was fun, but it also proved the point that little guys don't make money mining. The average gold mine today employees 100's, even thousands, moves hundreds of TONS of ore a day, and processes it in a mill that costs millions of dollars. It's big business.
But even in the old days, prospectors got little. They'd find a nugget or two, lay a claim, and quickly sell it to the big operations. Most of them ended up in wage labor to the guy they sold the claim to. The only people that got rich in gold rushes were the big capital guys that bought up the stakes and set up the operations, and the merchants. There was a lot of money in selling supplies to prospectors. But that is about it.
Gold rushes, were economic fads. Far more gold comes out of some places now than ever came out 0f the California gold fields - it's in some of the most isolated places in the United States. Huge money, no rush, because most people have figured out that they really won't get rich.
I have much the same feeling about the latest fade that is going to bring Christ to the entire earth. Seems to me that usually the ministry benefits far more than either their target "audience" or the Kingdom for that matter. Like a gold rush, so many come, so few actually benefit.
Why do we keep falling for it? Well, a genuine walk with Christ is not easy. We have to confess, we have to "pick up our cross," we have to endure persecution, and trial. It's not like we walk into church, find a nugget, lay a claim, and have it all.
But that seems to be what most people want from their religion. And so, we keep coming up with something that makes a huge splash so we can create a "rush." But only a few actually benefit.
Funny, the gold mining industry has matured. In doing so it is far more productive than it has ever been. I wonder when the church will do the same thing?