Sunday, February 22, 2015

What really happens when you fall off the radar

We've been debt-free for several years now. Of the three credit reporting agencies, one can't even get my name right, another hasn't been able to keep up with my current address, and the third seems to have chosen to forget that I even exist. (As if it's so hard for a company built around gathering and storing information en masse to keep one more handful of bytes of data around.)

Meanwhile, I see more and more and more articles about how it is absolutely necessary to have a good, long credit record and a high credit score, and how not having those things must mean that you are a very, very bad person.  (Who may not even deserve to get their mandated Obamacare.)

Let's spit this propaganda out and step back for a minute:  Who created credit reporting and scoring? Creditors, so they can tell who will be most profitable for them to lend to. Who is it most profitable for them to lend to? People who routinely use credit, and who might someday have to live off credit for a while. (Creditors take a little in interest and fees off the top in the good economic times, and will take much more than that in the hard and desperate times.) Who is the least profitable for them? Two types:  people who run up huge piles of debt and then never repay, either intentionally or unintentionally, and people who rarely or never use credit.

So there is more than one way to get a lower credit score, and having one does not necessarily imply immoral or irresponsible behavior.
The Bible is clear:  debt is to be avoided, but the poor cannot always avoid do this, and will sometimes get into debt beyond any possibility of repayment. There should be a mechanism to erase their debt and allow them to start over with a clean slate--this is laid out in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, containing the Law that was given to the Israelites), and it is the origin of our modern bankruptcy laws. The rich who exploit the hardships of the poor to enrich themselves even further are thoroughly condemned throughout the Bible. One reason for the periodic remission of debts is to prevent the economic winners from actually taking all and permanently enslaving their countrymen.

Today, powerful corporations and their allies in media and government and academia would like you to believe that living debt-free is impossible. But debt is slavery, your enslavement is to their profit, not yours, and they are even ready to deny an honest living to those whom they can't enslave. Who is it who really determines what is possible and what isn't? God and only God. Look around you:  there are millions of people surviving and getting by who don't have "good credit", who don't have credit cards, and who don't have much of an income. A fair number of these people are even living quite well. It is not impossible if there are people who are actually doing it.

Beyond this, when God provides supernaturally it is utterly beyond the understanding of those who are merely of this world. It is this Providence that I have come to depend on more and more. The best way to make "something from almost nothing" is to follow the One who made absolutely everything from absolutely nothing, and who can always provide that little something to get you started.

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