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Surviving Social Chaos
In America?   

Q. I listen to the news a lot and some smart people are warning us that America is headed for social chaos including riots, shortages, an increase in gang activities and other things that could threaten the safety of our families.

They say we only have to see what's happening in Greece, France, Russia, and other areas to learn what the U.S. will look like in just a few years. So, what should Christians do to keep themselves and their families safe in this escalating hostile environment?


Grim Outlook

Very insightful, timely questions! We have heard this, too. Numerous futurists, sociologists and astute investors such as Michael Panzner (Financial Armageddon), futurist Gerald Celente, deflationist Robert R. Prechter (Conquer the Crash), James Kunstler (The Long Emergency) and talk-show host Glenn Beck (FOX News) are warning of exceedingly tough times ahead for Americans.

If you haven't come across this yet we suggest you look up their resources and learn more about what they are heralding. "Google" their names and find out what they say about the matter. It's a grim outlook. But, there are things we can do.

Tickle-Me-Elmo Culture

We have lived in prosperity and peace on our own soil for many generations. For several years our primary problems seemed to be things like finding a "Tickle-me-Elmo" toy for our favorite grandkids. Teenagers demanded the latest iPods, stereos and computers. Adults sought after roomy, luxurious homes complete with entertainment centers and six-car garages.

Living Low Key in our Future

But, those days are over. While we don't believe in panicking or "freaking out," it does seem prudent to take steps to help ensure the safety of our families and to live in a modest, low-key manner as soon as possible. Consumerism is no longer a workable lifestyle for us.

Flaunting our wealth by driving hot cars and wearing ostentatious outfits will just flag those who are desperate and resentful. We don't want our kids to be targets for kidnappers and terrorists. So, we must learn to live more modestly and "smart" before pandemonium hits our streets.

Live Modestly under the Radar Screen

Christians should be ideally living modest lifestyles anyway. The wise Proverbs writer says,

"Don't envy evil people or desire their company. For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble. A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables. The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. So don't go to war without wise guidance - victory depends on having many advisers" (Proverbs 24:1-6, NLT updated).

It would be wise for all of us to learn a new, low-key way of living - well under the radar screen. We don't need to deliberately evoke envy in others. We don't need to win every argument. We can fill our homes with the treasures of God's wisdom, wear modest clothing and learn a more humble way of being. This is something we need to teach our kids, too.

Italian Example

For many decades Italy's private citizens had to watch out for theft, kidnappings and riots. Early on they learned to be "understated" in everything they did. They didn't go out wearing expensive jewelry or driving hot cars. They usually didn't travel alone and took care not to invoke hostility in others. They didn't pull out wads of cash from their wallets. Credit cards worked just fine (so long as they paid them off monthly).

No Road Rage or Revenge

We would be wise to learn some lessons from them. This is not the time to get even or pay back drivers filled with road-rage, to argue with the clerk over pennies or to demand our rights in every situation. Don't provoke fights.

Check with the State Department before traveling to foreign countries like Mexico. Check for terrorist alerts and traveler warnings. Don't be a lone "maverick" who thinks he can carry guns or weapons and defend himself in every situation.

Besides, according to the experts angry mobsters often surprise their victims. Seasoned karate fighters and gun-toters frequently say they find themselves overruled and outgunned in displays of violence during riots, for example.

The best solution is to retreat! Get out of there as fast as you can! This isn't cowardice - it's "smarts!'

Fearing Terror?

Nevertheless, Christians especially should not be fearful of the days ahead. The psalmist tells God's people,

"Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you, no plague will come near your home" (Psalm 91:5-10, NLT).

Not One Minute before our Time

Although Christians die in disasters and riots, too, we know assuredly that our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15). No matter how many riots or gangs fill the streets with violence we will not die one minute before the Lord decides to take us home. But, that does not mean we should "tempt the Lord" or deliberately do things that might provoke others to harm us.

Survival Tips

There are many good books containing survival tips. We have listed some at the end. For instance, one suggests doing all shopping and taking care of medical needs early in the morning. Riots usually gain steam later in the day. That's just observation coupled with common sense.

Another suggests that we try not to travel alone. Our children should never go out alone even if they are inclined to do so. They must be taught not to laugh at the unfortunate and to act humbly toward authority-figures.

One security specialist suggests families own several little noisy dogs. He says they are more effective than costly security systems. They don't make noise when the wind blows and they are fun to have around. They are God's "gifts" to mankind.

Learn to be patient. Wait in line like the others. Speak kindly to everyone, and don't be a "hothead." Not only is a short-tempered person violating Christian standards, it could cost him his life as well!

Stockpile - don't Hoard

Buy food and goods in quantity when they are on sale. This is not "hoarding." Hoarding is a hidden accumulation of things in short supply.

In contrast, stockpiling goods on sale is to build up a supply of essential things in your pantry when they are cheapest. This way you won't have to constantly travel to stores and shopping centers. You will save on gas and shop wisely.

Christians have developed strange attitudes about stockpiling and hoarding. For example, we know excellent Bible teachers who think that amassing fortunes in IRAs and 401ks is a prudent thing to do. But, collecting gold or silver coins is "hoarding." This is plain silly - it's foolish thinking!

Challenge Conventional Thinking

This is the kind of thinking we need to challenge and reassess in the difficult days ahead. Learn to think "outside the box." Challenge your own assumptions and think through everything as clearly as you can.

Let's learn to grow veggies in our own little gardens. Let's become more self-sufficient. Let's seek the wisdom of other godly people. If possible let's move to smaller towns and join smaller churches. Values and loyalties are of a higher caliber outside the big cities.

I would rather own a small trailer outright on a little parcel of land where I can grow my own vegetables, own a few chickens, and have several yippy dogs than to live in a marble-laced McMansion sprawled out among the endless suburbs of L.A. The McMansions are terrorist-targets and provoke anger among the have-nots. Lowly trailers and humble living may not.

Let's learn to entertain ourselves at home instead of at the shopping mall or the golf course. It's safer. Besides, we can save on gas, save wear-and-tear on our cars, and limit indiscriminate shopping. Instead, we can garden, walk the dog, and engage in healthy living. Let's begin to read our Bibles daily, learn God's wisdom, seek out godly friendships at church and learn to live humbly. It's a challenge to Americans, but we can do it!

References&Suggested Reading:

Deyo, Holly Drennan. Dare to prepare. Available from: http://standeyo.com/Our_Books/DTP.html.

Frist, Bill. 2002. When every moment counts. Lanham, MA: Rowman&Littlefield.

Lundin, Cody. 2007. When all hell breaks loose. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith.

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