4/3/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
In the Bitcoin/USD market, the world is getting a rare glimpse of the power of the monetary premium. Today those who watched witnessed the Bitcoin briefly race up to $147 USD before retreating to around $115, where it stood yesterday.
Over the past few days, we have been participating in a discussion of the merits of the Bitcoin over on Google+ with the Austrian Economics group. It has been interesting to see how we wrestle with the concept of what is money. Trying to pin it down to one thing in the physical world. For if money were just one thing and one thing only, one of the world’s great mysteries would be put to rest, and the rest of the mysteries may even become less mysterious.
However, the concept of money remains elusive. It will remain elusive, and it is good. Here is why.
For the many things that it purports to be, the Bitcoin may be best described as a decentralized digital currency. As such, the only value that can rationally be attributed to it consists entirely of what we call a monetary premium. In our worldview, money is a concept. As such, there is no physical thing or concept that can claim a divine right to being money. Not gold, silver, nor national currencies.
What fools man into clinging to these things and insisting on calling them money is the notion of a monetary premium, which we define as a set of characteristics when make something a chosen store of wealth, medium of trade, and unit of account. For more on this, please read our eBook “What is Money? A quest to answer the question of the ages.”
We return from this shameless plug to the Bitcoin. The Bitcoin is not a physical good. If anything, it boils down to an arbitrary string of the zeros and ones that form the basis of all computing. However, this non-thing is beginning to absorb a portion of the monetary premium.
This partial absorption of the monetary premium by a string of digital numbers serves a proof that money is a construct of man, and for all of man’s efforts to capture it, measure it, and make it his, the concept of money, or what is better understood as the monetary premium, is a fickle and fleeting thing.
For this reason, Jesus warned us,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon”
Neither YHWH or the monetary premium can be seen, but man must choose to serve one or the other. One is fickle and fleeting, the other faithful and constant. One’s answer as to which is which will reveal whom they serve.
Yet the Bitcoin and the fickle and fleeting monetary premium that it is interacting with gives those of us who are paying attention a chance to examine our character. For our reaction to the fluctuations in the Bitcoin / USD ratio may help to reveal hat kind of man or woman we are.
Whether one finds themselves serving the monetary premium or YHWH, they are likely to find themselves identifying with one of three basic examples of behavior and motivations.
These examples were first presented to us in the summer of 2004 at a Kings Kids European summit in Tarragona. Far from the lush EU summits which are the hallmark of today’s famous Troika mismanagement, the Kings Kids operate on a wing and, most literally, a prayer.
With our Castilian Spanish skills still lacking, we spent a mid summer’s week in tents on a high school campus (naturally, school was out) with minimal bath and shower facilities with hundreds of adolescents, young adults, and not so young adults from across Europe and the UK (indeed, we were acquainted with a long lost cousin from Wales at the event). It is in these settings where YHWH moves and provides his most profound lessons and training.
It was in this setting, then, that the examples were presented by our Pastor Curtis Clewett of La Iglesia El Lokal in Barcelona. Each time we recount the impact of this teaching to him, he recalls it as something that he threw together at the last minute.
So it was, on a warm summers eve on the Mediterranean coast in a place which more or less resembled a gypsy camp, we gathered to hear el Reverendo impart the three examples of what we will call spiritual maturity. Read them carefully and please, take no offense at the blanket statements that the descriptions imply. We understand there are many shades of the following professions, and it will quickly become clear that it is the description that matters more than the professional title:
The Soldier: The soldier is in training. He is fit, well equipped, and he is at the ready. However, the soldier does not represent the ultimate in spiritual maturity, for he is lacking two things: Initiative and autonomy.
The soldier is trained to take orders. He does not dare act on his own for fear of retribution or failure. He is limited by not only the rules and regulations of his trade, but also in his physical movements and the ability to act independently of the orders given by his commanders. As such, he cannot act on his own initiative and, if he does, it is in a very small sphere of operations which is dependent upon others following similar orders.
Being a soldier is not a bad thing, indeed, it is admirable, but the path to spiritual maturity demands that he move past this necessary first jaunt down the neverending path towards spiritual maturity.
The Athlete: Unlike the soldier, the athlete is, by definition, acting on his or her own initiative. They may depend upon a coach for guidance and encouragement, but their motivation to obey the coach comes from a desire to improve, not fear, as was the case from time to time with the soldier.
The athlete desires to excel at a certain sport or event, and relies on set intervals of competitions or time trials by which to receive feedback and praise for his or her efforts.
Again, being an athlete is not a bad thing, and the emergence of personal initiative and the desire to train, as well as an increased degree of autonomy represent a further journey down the path to spiritual maturity, however, even if the athlete reach the pinnacle of their chosen field, they are still lacking in one very important aspect, an aspect that is fully embraced by the farmer.
The Farmer: The farmer does not have a drill sergeant yelling at him in the morning, nor is he told what to do and when to do it. The farmer is not restricted in his movements or daily activities.
The farmer does not train on a daily basis and is not accountable to a coach. Indeed, the farmer takes on responsibility not only for his own training regimen, but for understanding when and where to compete.
The farmer knows exactly what to do and waits for signals from his natural surroundings to tell him when to do it. He constantly looks after his surroundings and understands that both the land and the animals within his care have been entrusted to him. Indeed, so have his family and his neighbors. Even those whom he will never meet indirectly may rely upon the success of his efforts to be able to put food on their table.
The farmer’s efforts may appear volatile, oscillating between sloth and frenzies of chaotic activity. When there is nothing to be done, the farmer drives to the café to drink coffee and play cards all day. When there is work to be done, he awakens early and does not rest until his equipment or the lack of daylight put an end to the day’s efforts.
The farmer not only understands what needs to be done, he understands that all efforts, to be effective, must be put forth in their season. He can prepare, and often does, but he understands that the time to exert himself will become known in its due time, but it will not happen on a schedule which he can set.
Still, he accepts the responsibility of his post, both the long days and the stinging boredom, with joy, knowing that ultimately he is doing the work of a master, and is providing for many who live well beyond the county line who he may never personally meet. He may never be thanked by them, or recognized formally for his work, yet in the work itself, he finds life’s greatest contentment.
As you can see from the above examples, to understand one’s own character, it is as important to understand who we are serving as it is to understand how we are serving, for the key to contentment lies in choosing well on both accounts.
The monetary premium currently attributed to the Bitcoin will take wings. If one is a soldier or an athlete, they are likely to get burned by the sudden movements. However, the farmer, in a sloth like manner, will pick his spot and wait patiently for an opportunity to present itself.
Then, in a sudden, measured frenzy, he will then labor day and night until the work is finished.
Pastor Clewett is still in Barcelona. In the true spirit of the farmer, he continues to pastor in addition to his duties at Planting Together, where he is on the Executive team. Planting Together is an organization which organizes tree planting and pruning excursions, where they partner with the government of Senegal and many others to help build up the Great Green Wall, a wall of trees and foliage which is successfully fighting back the encroachment of the Sahara in northwestern Africa.
Thank you, Curtis! Many blessings on your head. May we all learn to sow and reap as you have.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for April 3, 2013
Copper Price per Lb: $3.34
Oil Price per Barrel: $94.45
Corn Price per Bushel: $6.41
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 1.81%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US: $115.20
FED Target Rate: 0.15% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,558 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25%
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 14,550
M1 Monetary Base: $2,425,000,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base: $10,547,600,000,000