One Emotional Check Away

It was stated in the Prosperity Now report that 40% of Americans are one paycheck away from poverty. This is just one more reminder that so many of us are living week to week and it is vitally important that there is a net floor that provided by society that no one can fall below. I am not an expert on how good America is at providing that floor, but 40% seems rather high for such a wealthy country.

While it may be that 40% of us are one paycheck away from financial poverty, I would add that it is at least that many who are one “emotional check” away from devastation.

Photo by  Sydney Sims  on  Unsplash

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Most of us receive love and support from family, friends and community. It is something that I see each week when I attend worship. People coming together to remind one another they are loved, that God is with us, that we are bound together and that when life crashes down there is a foundation that you will not fall below..

These "emotional checks” are regular in most of our lives. However, in tragedy, loss or just circumstances, there can be a lapse in those “emotional checks” and many of us are not able to sustain that loss.

While the government opens back up and we still make our way to try to build up the social floor of support, let us not overlook the sources of our “emotional checks” in our world. Break bread with friends, call a loved one, connect with strangers, practice mercy, share in love, participate in a worshiping community - these actions are among those that help each of us through those times when our lives shut down but we still need our emotional checks.

Jubilee Bank - Could it work?

A few years ago I had this dream called "Jubilee Bank". It was a hybrid of micro-credit and "pay day lending". The idea was to use the network of churches in the UMC to advance money to a person in need (like a pay day lender would). However, the overhead of the Jubilee Bank would be much less than that of a single pay day lender thus, Jubilee Bank could afford to lower the interest rate (perhaps at the proposed cap of 35%). Additionally, rather than use the title of a car for collateral (like that of a Title Loan company) the Jubilee Bank might be more modeled after payday loans. This may insure the borrower could get quick cash to cover an emergency while ensuring the lender is not taking on too much risk. Jubilee bank would not have to receive interest, but make it clear that any over-drafting on the account of the borrower was risk they had to accept.

It never came to fruition but the dream still is there. 

The payday lending area has been demonized by many with a lot of different data. Recently Freakanomics radio took on the merits of some of these claims in their episode, "Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?" This episode stoked the dream of Jubilee Bank. 

I encourage you to take some time to listen to the episode and then close your eyes and see if you can see a world with a Jubilee Bank?