How Should You Prepare for Difficult Times?
Reuters reports that within this growing American subculture, “Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.”
The preppers are not alone in their concern. News headlines from around the world are so unsettling that some people are simply tuning out all news—burying their heads in the proverbial sand.
But others think, What is going on? Why so much instability, upheaval, upset and bad news all at once? With this environment as a backdrop, one recent survey showed that more than six in 10 Americans believe that a “major catastrophic event” will soon strike the nation (USA Today).
One of the leading figures of the prepper movement is James Wesley Rawles, who maintains a popular survivalist blog. In his book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques and Technologies for Uncertain Times, he summarizes the thinking that drives preppers: “In the First World, less than 2 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture or fishing…The food on our tables often comes from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Our heating and lighting are typically provided by power sources hundreds of miles away. For many people, even their tap water travels that far…The average American comes home from work each day to find that his refrigerator is well-stocked with food, his lights come on reliably…his toilet flushes, his paycheck has been automatically deposited to his bank, his garbage has been collected, his house is a comfortable seventy degrees…We’ve built a very Big Machine that up until now has worked remarkably well, with just a few glitches. But that may not always be the case. As Napoleon found out the hard way, long chains of supply and communication are fragile and vulnerable.”
Reuters reported that Mr. Rawles said an upset in this order could lead to “a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots…The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures.”
Recognizing the fragility of modern commerce and society, many are motivated by fear to look for a way out of what they see as an inevitable breakdown.
Human beings have real physical needs, without which they cannot function or live for very long. These necessities have been abundant in the West, with many government agencies, safety net programs, and charities working to ensure their availability. But in a country that is nearly insolvent, as the owner of a survival supply store stated, “A lot more people have come to maybe not trust that the institutions that were there for us in the past to help protect us would be there in the future…These people, like I am, are interested in becoming more self-reliant and less dependent” (WPTV).
Christians among the prepper movement should consider what Jesus Christ said about these necessities. Did He exhort His followers to practice self-reliance, and to stockpile goods?
Black Blade: This country was formed by those religious folk seeking freedom to practice their religions - from Puritans to Catholics to Protestants to Menonites to Mormons and many others throughout the last few centuries. They all had struggled in the early days and this is where "prepping" as a daily fact of life carries over into today for many American Christians. Many still "prep" and their scriptures and teachings often exhort practioners to "prep" for unforeseen events (spiritually and physically). Many "preppers" or "survivalists" I know are religious folk and many others I know are not religious at all. For the non-religious it is often a lifestyle that may be described as "cultural" learned from previous generations of family and community. When it comes to "prepping" it cuts across all strata of American culture. Perhaps we all have that instinct for survival and some memory of our fathers and grandfathers stories of living through "tough times" early in the last century and events happening today make us all a bit uneasy and looking to better our chances at survival. People were more religious in the past as well so it should not be surprising that many Christians are also "Preppers" and "Survivalists".