The UNEMPLOYMENT DEPRESSION & Its EFFECTS -Andrew Strom + Yves Perriard. We have long stated that what America is experiencing is no mere "Recession" but rather a new "Depression". Officially the USA is supposed to be in a 'recovery' and yet unemployment remains at virtual "Depression" levels. My heart truly goes out to all those caught up in this. Truly an awful time to be out of work in America. During the LBJ years the way the US Government measured unemployment was changed to make it seem "less bad". Thus they can announce that US unemployment is now "only" 9.6 %. But the 'REAL' unemployment rate (known as U6) is at 17 percent. (Over 20 percent in California). And according to the well-known economics site Shadowstats, if unemployment was counted like it was in the 1930's, it would stand today at 22 percent. And it has been this way for months - with no "recovery" in sight. But let us leave these statistics and consider the "spiritual" aspect of what is happening in America today. Despite the heart- wrenching human cost of such a downturn, is there some way in which this crisis is actually doing spiritual "good" in America? Is it possible that it is bringing a turning away from the old idols of materialism and a real hunger towards the true things of God? I was very interested to read the words of the Swiss preacher Yves Perriard who recently ministered to 18 different fellowships in 25 States of America. Here is what he wrote- "A more HUMBLE and BROKEN SPIRIT. Of the dozens of times I have been in the States in the last 20 years (totalizing more than 2-3 years when put together), I have never observed the present attitude that prevails in so many Americans. The forceful and almost arrogant attitude of self- confidence which used to say "just do it, we'll make it happen", has been replaced by a far more humble and broken spirit. Many believers start to realize that God's dream is not the same as the American Dream. Their government has failed them, their economy has not turned around, and the future looks very uncertain. Only God gives true hope. MANY HAVE ENTERED a time of SPIRITUAL DESERT and ISOLATION. I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed for believers who have lost everything (job, house, confidence in the future) and have gone through a very dry time of wondering what God is doing with them. The biblical concept that we sometimes have to lose most of our securities in order to find God has become very real to many American Christians. Many of you reading this e-mail are now going through a spiritual desert and isolation in which your only hope is God. This is a strong reality that is radically shaping the very foundations of the Church." [- Yves Perriard]. Unless you are in Greece, Spain or Ireland, it is very hard to comprehend what the USA is going through right now. And as their unemployment benefits expire, it looks set to grow even worse. Yet it does, in some strange way, seem to be turning people's hearts back to God. Dare we hope for Revival in the wake of such a great Recession? Only time will tell. I would love to hear comments from readers in the USA about the "spiritual" changes they are sensing in the wake of this crisis. Please post your comments at the following site- http://www.johnthebaptisttv.com/ God bless you all. Andrew Strom.