Now that the idiotic Starbuck's red Christmas cup "controversy" has subsided, the latest news item to catch my attention has been the recent study showing a spike in white, blue-collar deaths in the United States. While the mortality rates among Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have been in steady decline in recent decades, white males age 45-54 (my group!) have seen a 20% increase in their death rates since 1999, largely by suicide. Wow.
The exact reason for change in mortality rates is not known, although, as journalist Bill Torpy points out, "a common theme revolves around the dying of the middle-class, the feeling that the new normal of American life-sketchy work arrangements, smaller wages, increased debt, reduced life expectations, and a frayed safety net-will kill you." The trend seems to hit middle aged white males with no more than a high school diploma. With the loss of so many manufacturing jobs over the last few decades, I suppose you could call this new epidemic "death by blue collar."
Signs of alarm come from so many directions, and it's both interesting and exasperating listening to the solutions bantered about by politicians on both sides of the aisle in recent days. Truth be told, there are no simple solutions.
In such an environment, what is a church to do? What does the Lord require? In the words of the prophet Micah, we are very simply to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God. -Micah 6:8 And so we pray, we worship, we vote, we serve, we love, and we stand up for what is right, for we are all in this thing together!
Prayer for Today
Dear God, Through good times and bad, help us to stand together and fulfill our calling to serve and to love. Amen.