Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Odell's Watch and a Repeat of the Great Depression

Odell Beckham, Jr.'s watch (Photo: Business Insider)
Odell Beckham, star wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, played his first football game for Cleveland this past Sunday wearing what Business Insider calls a $350,000.00 watch.

That's right. Odell wore on his left wrist  a watch that costs almost double the average price of an American home.


Those of us who know almost as much about the 1910's and 20's as we do today's current events understand the significance of Odell Beckham's watch.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby to expose the opulence of the 1920's, a time historians now call The Era of Excess.

Welcome, America, to 2020.

In an era of excess, money seems limitless and people believe the economic boom will never end.

But the laws of physics and economics are inviolable. Any object or economy that expands to its limit will eventually collapse upon itself.

In economics, its called an economic depression.

Economic depressions always follow eras of excess.

Most young Americans have no clue about the hardships my grandparents endured during the Great Depression which began after the Era of Excess that followed World War I.

The Great Depression (1929-1939)
So the best way to describe a Great Depression is to compare Beckham's opulence in wearing a $350,000.00 watch while playing professional football to my grandfather wearing a $1 Timex watch during the Great Depression.

Odell Beckham doesn't care if his watch is shattered in a violent collision on the football field.

My grandfather would lock his $1 watch in a safe at night lest it be stolen.

When the American rich flaunt their money with minimal concern for its loss, then we are but a short time away from a depression when the rich will wonder where their money has gone and the poor will guard the little money they have with their life.

What goes up must come down.


Odell is only 26. He plays football. Obviously, he doesn't read history or economics.

Mr. Beckham, I would encourage you and those of your generation to also watch...the...economy...carefully.

And don't say you were not warned.


Rex Ray said...


The Great Depression was from 1929 to 1939. Being born in 1932, I grew up expecting a Depression at any time.

I don’t remember this story because we were too small. We didn’t have anything to eat for supper. Our dog drug a loaf of bread to the porch that was unopened. Mother made gravy, and we ate bread and gravy.

When I was about twelve, and the Depression came, I was going to surprise everyone by saying, “I have money!” (I was adding coins to a hole I’d dug in a high creek bed.) I stopped when the creek flooded and took my money.

I believe a possible Depression depends a lot if Democrats or Republicans run the Country. Another factor is if we have open or closed borders.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 1913's FERAL, sorry Federal, reserve's fiat money was the creation of the biggest ponzi scheme ever imagined - makes Bernie Madoff look like an angel.

"“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” ~ Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company."


Wade Burleson said...

Rex, once again, funny anecdote from your life!

Ken, superb point.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to know what steps you are taking to prepare your congregation individually and corporately for a coming financial crisis.

Wade Burleson said...

1. Getting folks out of debt (Financial Peace)
2. Refusing any and all church debt.
3. Teaching people to be good stewards of every penny God gives.
4. Focusing more on building community standards of living for all ethnic groups (clean up days, socio-economic and educational conferences, etc...)
5. Emphasizing trust in the God of the world instead of the world itself.

Christiane said...

I love your five 'steps', Wade. People in our country are so vulnerable financially, sometimes only one or two paychecks away from disaster.

I've been blessed by having been raised by two survivors of the Depression Era, and seeing the parents sit at kitchen table at night over a notebook into which they faithfully recorded every penny spent and for what reason. We lacked for nothing needed. But there was no waste in our home.

And when the time came that I needed extra funds to help our first-born, I knew to go to the basics: good food, good medical care, good schools, good shoes, and everything else you could get from the Salvation Army or the Public Library. Surprisingly, it does not cost all that much to cook a nutritious meal, IF people know something about nutrition and natural foods. That alone can save so much money which today is spent 'ordering in' or on fast food that is not good for growing children. And clothing? The prices? There is no shame in using thrift shops, consignment stores, and visiting garage sales for clothing that is suitable for more use. There is something honorable about recycling material things that others no longer need but that still have much good use in them. It's time for us to grow up and be responsible in this country. But we MUST take care of those innocents who are unable to care for themselves. They are helpless and in Christian mercy we are bound to reach out to them with loving-kindness. It's the right thing to do especially in the hard times to come, as most especially in the hard times are we bound to care.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Christiane.

It's a fantastic group of Jesus followers at Emmanuel.

Sallie Borrink said...


Are you familiar with the idea of The Fourth Turning? (I can't remember if it's come up on your site or not.)

I agree with you. I've been increasingly concerned the past four or five months. I actually opened a membership course and community on my site this week to try to help women prepare their homes and families by creating a pantry, preparing for difficult times, and understanding how current events and trends can impact their home (taking politics out of it and just looking at the events).

The next downturn/crash will make 2008-2011 look like nothing, IMHO.


Anonymous said...

Before we overly criticize Odell Beckham's extravagance, we should remember Babe Ruth's salary in 1930. When it was pointed out to Ruth that he made more ($80k vs $75k) than President Hoover, he replied, "I had a better year than Hoover".

Ken P.

Christiane said...

While I advocate freedom from debt, I do not believe in prophecies that pander to peoples' fearfulness, no. There is a great deal of fear-mongering these days, but it asks for many people to close their hearts to the suffering of innocents, and Christian people pay a price when they are fearful . . . it harms their witness.

fearful people struggle with Christianity, because the teachings of Christ do not support or validate ‘fear’ as a coping mechanism;

so there is an inherent conflict and divide between Christianity and Trumpism. Trumpism thrives on stirring up the fears of ‘the base’. Whereas Christianity proclaims a ‘good news’ that does NOT pander to fear-mongering.

So the lines are drawn.

And for those with a foot in each camp, they surely must be conflicted, or seriously divided in their loyalties.
And that is what I find is more sad than not. Fearful people are not to be objects of Christian contempt, no.
Although when some fearful people act out their fears against innocents and harm them, the ‘behavior’ of such destructiveness must provoke a response from all Christian people . . . . and it is not surprising that those in the Trumpist camp hold to their silence tightly and will not criticize his treatment of innocent asylum children.

‘Fear’ ?

Trump or Christ

You can place your faith in one or the other, but not both. It doesn’t work that way. Soon, there will be trouble for those whose religious beliefs contradict their political allegiances, and something will give way. And that is inevitable because there is no stability in holding to both the fear-monger and to the One who leads us out of our fears.
Divided loyalties are signs of lack of integrity, and are also signs of instability and confusion. Sooner or later, the stress will give way, one way or the other. Hopefully fearfulness is overcome by grace, and the cries of the persecuted small children are heard again in the hearts of the faithful who cannot walk away from the One to whom those children belong.

I hope people CAN resolve their internal differences and I do not hold any person in contempt who struggles with being conflicted as it happens to all of us who are human, when we do that which we do not understand nor want to do. Thank God for grace. And mercy.

RB Kuter said...

"Trump or Christ

You can place your faith in one or the other, but not both. It doesn’t work that way.Soon, there will be trouble for those whose religious beliefs contradict their political allegiances, and something will give way."

Isn't that the way of politics? Each side believes they are righteous while the opponents are demons, or "deplorables". Given the fallibilities of both side, it is pretty self-righteous to say the opposing side is worse.

That being the case, I guess "there will be trouble for those whose religious beliefs contradict their political allegiances" on BOTH sides.

Wade Burleson said...


Good for you!

RB Kuter,


Ken P. -

Babe Ruth, same issue. Interesting stories from the end of his life.

Rex Ray said...


Old friend, I believe you should heed my father’s wisdom: “It’s OK to be soft hearted as long as you’re not soft headed.”

You said, “Trump or Christ You can place your faith in one or the other, but not both.”

Have you really thought what your words say? We know only those that have faith in Christ are Christians. Right?

So your words say those that have faith in Trump are not Christians.

There’s a legal way to enter our great Country. But you, (for the sake of children) want them to enter illegally. It’s time for you to realize what you’re saying.

Anonymous said...

Christiane: I will carefully consider your words concerning the innocents at our border. But will you as carefully consider my words that not all those seeking entry illegally are innocents? That some are very evil?


Bob Cleveland said...

Mr. Beckham will, one day, realize that he must leave that $350,000 watch behind. As we all will, be it Timex or Rolex.

We all must reakize that the only way to "Lay up treasure in Heaven" is to invest in something that's going to Heaven. And that's not watches.

Rex Ray said...

So right, you are.

Bob, that’s good thinking

Christiane said...

Hello out there REX RAY,

I want for asylum seekers to be treated as the Holy Family were treated in Egypt when they sought refuge from Herod who massacred the male babies and toddlers in Bethlehem. The Holy Family were directed to seek asylum through the angels, when Joseph was warned to take Mary and the Child and to go to Egypt. So I do know that it is 'okay' for persecuted and threatened people to seek asylum in a safe country, yes.

I also want for those children who have been INVITED to come here for purposes of medical research to be able to remain for the duration of the time needed for them to survive. They were/are 'legal' immigrants. The medical treatments were/are life-saving. Some were unique and 'experimental' and provided new knowledge that helps our own people who are likewise afflicted. So the new ban on their being here after the end of a month now has added moral and humane considerations.

Consider the story of Maria Isabel Bueso especially, whose story involves her invitation to take part in the development of a new treatment for her condition that can help American children also:

"Without the weekly treatment replenishing the missing enzyme, Bueso would die in six to 12 months, said Dr. Paul Harmatz, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Bueso's physician.
It seemed Bueso had finally reached a sense of stability until mid-August, when she got a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informing her she was no longer authorized to stay in the country and had 33 days to leave or face deportation. The medicine she needs to survive is not available in Guatemala."

I am notoriously 'kind-hearted', but I am also the daughter of an immigrant and the sister and aunt and cousin of medical doctors, so I AM of course looking at this problem from that perspective, I admit. (sigh)

no, I don't think if people vote for Trump that they are not Christians, but I think it must give some people concern that he has certain policies that are unspeakably cruel to babies and small children who ARE INNOCENT of any wrong-doing. Supporting someone who is openly offending against the Royal Law of Christ is wrong, when speaking out might cause that person to re-consider their behavior. (Think of how Patterson was surrounded by yes-men for so long until the reality of his behavior became even too much for them to continue to support him in silence . . . if they had spoken up sooner, he might have listened and changed (?). I wonder how his former supporters feel now about their silence. (?)

Many worries this week. Hope you are feeling better, at least. Take care.

Christiane said...


here is the link to Maria Bueso's case:

so, yes, I am advocating for these people to be considered humanely for OUR sakes also, because we in this country hurt ourselves when we knowingly add to the suffering of innocents FAR MORE than we ever hurt them.

RB Kuter said...

I wonder if the news media began to run coverage showing the beautiful infants in the womb and began televising their being viciously destroyed by doctors who know what they are doing if perhaps it might elicit the compassion being displayed of children forced into dire circumstances on the border by their parents wanting to gain entry into the US illegally.

Seems that if the media buries the reality of something by not covering it on TV it is as though it is not happening. When they televise anything it generates passionate outcries of protest.

I just don't get those who exhibit such outrage and contempt for those charged with protecting the integrity of our national borders while seldom speaking in defense of the "millions" being cruelly, painfully, murdered. Where's the comparison?

Rex Ray said...


Where was your voice when we had Muslim President Obama who had children in cages?

The link above states:

“The cages for kids were built by the Obama Administration in 2014,” Mr. Trump tweeted during the debate. “He had the policy of child separation. I ended it even as I realized that more families would then come to the Border! @CNN”

Former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro raised the subject of child detentions with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, prompting hecklers in the debate hall to shout “3 million deportations!” It was a reference to the total number of deportations during eight years of the Obama administration.

Sallie Borrink said...

I really miss the days when the SBCers would just come around and yell at Wade and tell them how horrible he is/was. At least the comments were about the post content and didn't devolve into basically the same unrelated topic every. single. time.

Christiane said...

"If we have no compassion,
we will suffer alone, we will suffer
alone the destruction of ourselves."

(Wendell Barry)

Anonymous said...

the Church has already stepped into the sacred work of the Kingdom and now needs to be a voice of healing rather than one of division

Christiane said...

healing sounds pretty good to me :)

RB Kuter said...
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RB Kuter said...
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Christiane said...

putting my own worries about the coming 'scarcity' into better perspective, this meditation helped me, and I share it here with hope that it may help others also:

"” . . . in the midst of our perceived deficit
You come giving bread in the wilderness
You come giving children at the 11th hour
You come giving homes to exiles
You come giving futures to the shut down
You come giving easter joy to the dead
You come – fleshed in Jesus.

and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing

we watch
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.

It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that You “give food in due season
You open Your Hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

By Your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing. . . . "

(an excerpt from Walter Brueggemann's 'On Generosity' )

Christiane said...

RB Kuter said...

Wade, a frightened bunny hides in his burrow while a flourishing crop of carrots awaits above on the surface.

A frightened investor hides their money in the mattress (stores canned goods in the cellar) during a time when the economy is flourishing ("7 years of plenty" = now) instead of taking advantage of the waiting harvest to use in preparation for potential future crisis ("7 years of famine" = possible leftist/socialist gain control).

Matthew 25 (:26/27) " ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no [seed.] 27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my [money] back with interest."

Granted, Jesus must surely have been speaking primarily in reference to spiritual things (spiritual resources given and used for Kingdom growth) and I don't mean to use the parable out of context, but I believe this message is also relevant to God's provisions for necessary material support.

When we pray for God's provision and blessings and then neglect to take advantage of it, could it not be a sign of our having a lack of gratitude, faith and trust? Kind of like praying for food in the wilderness and then refusing to collect and eat the manna from heaven. We pray for a prosperous America and when we are blessed with one, do we fail to thank God as we identify it as being His provision and blessing?

Personally, I prefer to be prudent with personal finances, diversify investments so as to take advantage of our current flourishing economy, while keeping a wary eye for developments that may reflect storm clouds on the horizon ("red sky at night, sailor's delight/red sky in the morning, sailors take warning" Matthew 16:1).

Wade Burleson said...

RB Kuter,

Good comment - agreed!

RB Kuter said...

Wade, I sure appreciate your always being receptive to considering proposals by others which may not exactly align with some you have given. That sure is an admirable trait to which I aspire.

I want to be like you when I grow up!

Rex Ray said...

You may like this story about my brother.

May 26, 2012, Melody wrote: My dad has always had this unique gift of making friends almost anywhere he frequents. My mom and I went to lunch at a place called Paradise Bakery and she noticed a Mexican man cleaning tables. She told me "That's one of your dad's friends." My dad loves to sit in restaurants and write and somehow, had gotten to know this man. The amazing thing is he speaks barely a word of English. Somehow, we told him my dad was in the hospital. He said, "I come." Sure, enough he came that afternoon, holding his Bible and cried out to God. At times touching his face to the floor. He came the next day and did the same. My dad wrote this poem and read it to me with tears in his eyes.

My Friend, Charlie Rose
He came by today just to say, "God is on His way".
A kinder face, you could never find.
Carved from desert rock by blowing sand,
Bent now by sun and his labor of love.

He speaks no English; his T-shirt flies with bakery flour.
Courteous and polite he stands, without a seat of honor.
His eyes sparkle with tears of the good thing he shares.
We wait in the hospital room with a respectful air.

He lifts up his prayer beads to God and sinks to his knees.
Tears flow and fall on his hands; then puddle on the floor.
He pleads for God's mercy in a language so strange,
Yet known by many on God’s open range.

He remains on the floor while his tears continue to stream.
Yet with deep emotion he lifts our souls to heaven's gate.
And though he cleans tables, his prayers to heaven fly.
My friend, Charlie Rose. I think he lives closer to Jesus than I.

Hez Ray, May 25, 2012

Christiane said...

Hello out there, REX RAY

I loved that poem. Now I know from where came your own gift of writing so well. Sounds like your father was much loved by people who knew him, and there is no language that is easier to comprehend than love. Thanks for sharing that. I needed some encouragement. I can always count on you for great stories. Hope your health is as good as can be expected and thank God Judy is there to supervise. :) Take care, old friend.

Christiane said...

P.S. REX RAY, it's me, Christiane

if you ever end up in hospital and need a rosary said for you, let me know

(my goodness, with a few phone calls, I could even have a couple of dozen nuns praying for you in a crisis, and they are known to pray 'round the clock)

Christiane said...

Hello RB Kuter,

My good father, of blessed memory, was always saving everything, having been raised during the depression. In his garage was a box that had written on it:

Rex Ray said...


It’s been said that or Dad (Baptist) courted our Mother (Methodist) with a Bible under one arm and Shakespeare under the other.

At an age too young for me to remember, he tried to teach my twin brother and I the best of Shakespeare: “Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears, or tomorrow the Tiber will run red with your blood!”

All he got from us was, “Runny ears, runny ears!”

“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain [3 inches thick] in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom…” (Matthew 27:50-51 NLT)

This was a symbol that man no longer had to ‘reach God’ through priest, but man could reach God through Jesus.

“You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name and I will do it!” (Matthew 14:13-14 NLT)
All prayers appreciated if they’re directed to Jesus.

Ankle is improving as Home Health applies a Unna Boot with calamine twice a week. Saturday, I had to bury a skunk to rid the smell. That’s teach me not to shoot one. Saw a running coyote this morning.

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, I can relate. My mother-in-law was similar to your Dad in that she never forgot the lean years of the Depression. Her cupboards were always filled with canned goods and tons of other things in preparation for a possible reoccurrence of those years of our having a devastating economy.

I think my parents would have stored more too if they had the money to buy more! With 6 hungry boys to feed and clothe it took every penny just to make us presentable to go to school. We never went hungry, though and did learn a lot about stretching the dollar.

Seems as subsequent generations became more and more prosperous the concept of spending only what you earn and living with your means kind of went out the window. Guess prosperity can sometimes be a curse as Wade's post points out.

Rex Ray said...


Glad you liked the poem. Yesterday, Hez gave everyone a scare. They use a machine to get him in and out of bed, but during the night he broke the rules and fell getting out of bed. His knee hurt so bad, they thought it was broken and took him to a hospital. It was only badly bruised.

Many years ago he got Valley Fever when they moved to Arizona. Too much medicine cured him but destroyed his kidneys. He now lives with his daughter, Melody, in Seattle and goes for dialysis three times a week. A fall confines him to a wheelchair.

He’s sad his wife stays in a rest home in Arizona. Her state of mind doesn’t want to be around him as she’s said, “He’s gotten us ‘run out’ of every place we’ve lived.” (His mouth has a knack for getting on the bad side of police.)

Once he couldn’t talk as a ‘restraining device’ was choking him. A medic yelled, “He’s dying! You’ve got to let him loose!” He had been arrested for loitering at a newspaper office. He had an appointment to talk to the owner about pornography in his paper. The guy responsible for it didn’t want him talking to his boss and called the police.

One of our friends told me one day, “I know now why you built a large house. When your brother gets run out of every State in the Union, you can say, “Come live with us.”

Christiane, I believe my brother’s guarding Angel is about worn out. :)

Christiane said...

Hey out there, REX RAY

I can see you and your brother living together and trading stories back and forth from sun up to sundown. You might be able to keep him out of trouble if he lived with you, OR it could go the other way . . . and both of you get thrown out of town together! Poor Judy!!!

Srsly, I think both you and your brother have gone through a legion of guardian angels so far, and you all are not slowing down, for all the medical problems. What a wonderful team you and your brother would make on the story-telling front. I can see it all now. You could both do stand-up, er . . . well, at least 'sit-down' comedy and end up being famous. Try to look at the bright side and do not worry so much. What a wonderful character your brother seems to be! :)

Christiane said...

And now, to break some of the gloom and anxiety about our country's economic situation, this:

. . . . some years ago there was a best seller written by Frank Thomas about why people voted against their own interests ("What's the Matter With Kansas?")

here's a fun quote from it:

"“For decades, Americans have experienced a populist uprising that only benefits the people it is supposed to be targeting.... The angry workers, mighty in their numbers, are marching irresistibly against the arrogant. They are shaking their fists at the sons of privilege. They are laughing at the dainty affectations of the Leawoof toffs. They are massing at the gates of Mission Hills, hoisting the black flag, and while the millionaires tremble in their mansions, they are bellowing out their terrifying demands.
'We are here,' they scream, 'to cut your taxes.” "

Bella said...