The World is Changing in Profound Ways

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Economy, Emotional Equity, Family, News, Physical Equity, Spiritual Equity

We are living in and through a very profound time in human history. As is often the case, it's not always easy for those living through it to see it as it's happening. Individual lives can change very little until suddenly, one day we look back, and it's obvious that major changes have occurred. When examined within a broader historical context, only years later is the true depth and breadth of the changes fully realized.

We're going to be different. You and I will "see" this change and appreciate it as it is happening - because it is indeed a "Great Reset."

Last week I read an article entitled "Here's Why America's Labor Shortage Will Drive Inflation Higher." However, it wasn't the main thrust of the article (as described by the title) that got my attention. It was the observations the author made regarding "why" the labor force is changing that did.

The writer rightfully concludes that the economic lockdowns due to COVID have created a major shift in the global workforce. Boomers are waking up to some unpleasant realities. Until the lockdowns, Boomers were content to work well into their 60s and 70s. Now, they are saying "enough" and are retiring in large numbers. From the article... "Why have they left? They're fed up with their line of work, they don't like the way their industry has transmogrified, they're burned out from being "sandwiched" between caring for very elderly parents (80 and older) and supporting their children or grandchildren..."

Yet here is the most important observation in the entire article:

"The pandemic lockdown provided tens of millions of workers with an epiphany about their lives, careers, values and aspirations. This reckoning has overturned many of the assumptions being made about the Gen-X and Millennial workforce... what we see is unprecedented turnover as over 4 million workers are quitting their jobs every month. The reasons are varied--burnout from insane workloads, rage-quitting over intolerable working conditions, absurd demands from Corporate HQ and having had enough of being cussed out by customers, and seeking better opportunities elsewhere -- but the bottom line is work in America is undergoing a revolution few want to recognize because it's changing the terms of the exploitation the status quo holds so dear." (emphasis mine)

That last statement holds a major key to the unfolding transformation of the world's workforce within God's "Great Reset." Recall the following observation made by a blogger about Millennials' attitudes about work as quoted in chapter 27 of my book:

"We’ve seen our parents chase the so-called ‘American Dream’ of homeownership, 2 cars, 2 kids, and a perfectly groomed dog ready for the Saturday dinner party with the Jones’s. For some reason, this doesn’t seem to give our parents any meaning and as a generation, we’ve learned to question everything… Unless you can help show us how the work we do will give our life meaning, we’ll quickly become disengaged, take the pay cheque and then find a way to quit so we can do work that has meaning.”

Today, Boomers are beginning to join their Millennial children and Gen Z grandchildren in seeing the flaws and extractive nature of Neo-Darwinian capitalism. The writer of the original article I mentioned above concludes with the following statement:

"...great swaths of the American workforce are already on strike or slipping away from the dead-end treadmill. The terms of employment will have to change dramatically [in the years ahead]..."

People across all generations are awakening to the vanity of running on a treadmill to make stuff and to buy stuff -- all so that the wealthy can extract their labor and their earnings to get wealthier. These people are beginning to realize the value in their friends and family. The value of living a life of meaning. The value of building Equity in their neighbors and their community.

In short, they are seeing the value of living the abundant life that Jesus came to give.

As this "great awakening" spreads throughout the world in the coming years, what we are building together will be greatly needed. Please be encouraged. We're not too late. In fact, we're right on time. Let's stay the course.

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The Power of Asking "Why?"

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Emotional Equity, Physical Equity, Spiritual Equity

Nearly every parent has experienced it. At some point, toddlers begin to realize that there is more to the world around them than they originally perceived. Their need to understand becomes insatiable.

“Mommy/Daddy, why (they state their curiosity)?”

“Because (superficial explanation #1).”

“Why?” (They sense there is more to it than that.)

“Well…” (second attempt at a more thorough explanation.)


And the loop continues until the parent either runs out of patience or knowledge of the subject matter at hand. What those children have tapped into, however, is a fundamental principle. Living a superficial life is not very satisfying. The more you dig, the more the world makes sense. Each utterance of the question “why?” is an ax thrust into the ground, with understanding and truth being the ultimate prize.

We see this principle in Equity Building. Good counselors ask questions, listen, then ask more questions. They may not use the word every time, but they are constantly digging for the root of “Why?” Why do you feel that way? Why did you react that way? They keep asking “why” until both the root problem and its cause are exposed. That is when long-term emotional healing can occur.

Good doctors follow a similar path. A friend of mine has dealt with chronic health issues his entire life. Just recently, he has received a major breakthrough because he was connected with a doctor who refused to follow the standard playbook and instead asked the question “why?” until it led to a previously undiscovered link between his symptoms and the root cause of his health struggles.

In both cases (all three if you count the example of the child), each time the question “why?” is asked, it forces introspection. It causes the one of whom the question is asked to consider their presuppositions and results-based reality before formulating their answer. Answering a series of “why?” questions takes time, often a lot of it, before the final answer presents itself.

Sadly, today’s fast paced high-tech, hyper-connected, yet the relationally superficial world has trained humans to become very impatient. We want pages of suggested answers presented to us in .17 seconds as we type our questions into a search engine.  We read through the top two or three, and boom! Problem solved. Task complete. Time to move on.

That may be sufficient when working on a do-it-yourself home fix-it project. However, it is woefully insufficient to produce remedies to the broken economic, political, and social systems that are now exposed as being built on a foundation of faulty principles. Today, countless citizens in every nation are consumed with fear and uncertainty. Meanwhile, it seems as though world leaders are busy tapping their questions into Google and enacting public policy based on their search results.

Needless to say, it will not work.

Seeking Answers

During the 20th Century, the developing world seemed on the verge of a new era of abundance. Countless hundreds of millions of people gained access to material goods and services that enable them to live a lifestyle that rivals that of kings a thousand years ago. Countless millions of Christians believe that this is an indication of God’s blessing. They think it is the manifestation of Jesus’ declaration that "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

Yet in each nation where this "new era of abundance" has been established, there remains an incredible number of poor, widows, and orphans – all living day-to-day in tremendous distress. This world of abundance seems filled with unsolvable problems. Geopolitical tensions are rapidly rising. Governments worldwide are creating trillions of dollars worth of new money, yet the fear of scarcity is everywhere.


The answer is revealed when we look at the context of the full statement that Jesus made.

"The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

The thief.

Most Christians today know who the thief is. However, they have no idea all that he has stolen from humanity.


For three thousand years, the thief has constructed and fine-tuned systems that destroy the abundance that Jesus intended for us to enjoy. But he didn’t stop there. His systems create a false sense of abundance, and he has convinced us it is better than what Jesus came to give. Until we are ready to face that fact, we will continue to see the earth and its inhabitants needlessly killed and destroyed.

The Baseline

At Pentecost, the impartation of the Holy Spirit reversed the economic sanctions placed on the Gentile nations at the tower of Babel, where God confused their language. God's goal then was to make it impossible for them to do what He Himself said they were on the verge of doing – whatever they wished (Genesis 11:6).

Why did God reverse these sanctions?

By bringing the Gentile nations back into right standing and giving them a new interpreter (the Holy Spirit), He restored to mankind a very practical and necessary component for mankind to fulfill the mandate given in Genesis 1:28 and repeated in Matthew 6:10 and 28:19-20. That is, to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

The scale of resource gathering and cooperation necessary to accomplish this mandate is stunning. At Pentecost, for the first time in 2200 years, all of humanity had the ability to access the blueprints for God's Kingdom and cooperate with one another on a scale necessary to build it. That's a pretty big deal.

It makes sense then that God would give us a baseline measurement of progress in building this new Kingdom, and a clue as to how to achieve this baseline. He did.

"For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need." Acts 4:34-35

Having the basic needs of emotional, physical, and Spiritual well-being met in the citizens of this new Kingdom was the first and bare minimum baseline goal to be achieved before any other economic "growth" should be considered.

So why do we still have countless needy among the "wealthiest" nations on earth?

The answer is sad and telling. The 20th Century gave rise to a marketing machine that created human beings so focused on themselves, that their consumption-driven frenzy has laid waste to vast quantities of human and natural resources. The idea of loving your neighbor to the point of ensuring their basic needs are met got lost in the noise of this demonic machine.

For those who have not yet watched the award-winning 2002 BBC documentary "The Century of the Self - Happiness Machines," I would encourage you to invest the time. It chronicles in part how the West, in particular, has become a culture filled with rich young rulers who today would find it very difficult to sell their very large lands or houses and lay the proceeds at the feet of the apostles.

As Pentecost 2021 approaches, there is no better time to step back from the noise created by the machine we are still trapped in today and re-consider the baseline given to us at the first Pentecost. Maybe the question we should ask is…

Why not trust the baseline created by those who first encountered the Holy Spirit and work toward designing and implementing an economic model where "there was not a needy person among them?"

Why not?

[1] James 1:27

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Principles vs. Ideals – How to Build a Thriving Community

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Featured

At Thrive 21, we are serious about helping families and communities experience real, tangible growth in their overall well-being. That means creating a real-world, practical framework for that growth to occur. But how can we go about creating such a framework? One can certainly start from scratch with a set of ideals - defined as “a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence.” After all, who wouldn’t want something that is excellent or even perfect?

The danger lies in formulating policies and practices based on ideals that have no real-world chance to produce anything close to the “excellence or perfection” espoused by them. Sadly, this happens regularly when politicians and economists are involved. For example, in the United States, Congress and the Federal Reserve have stated that they have a mandate which is actually an “ideal.” That is to manage fiscal and monetary policy to create “full employment” and “low inflation.”

The reality is that the policies they have developed and enacted around this “ideal” have produced very different results than what they proposed. Employment is uneven at best across various sectors of the economy, and inflation is becoming a real problem for the first time in decades. This is in part because of the vast diversity of the economic ecosystem of the United States. A one-size-fits-all approach to economic and monetary policy has produced highly negative unintended consequences in communities across the nation. This type of approach was a problem well before the pandemic inserted its own set of variables into the mix.

Adding fuel to the fire are metrics measured to achieve “success” that incentivize behaviors that are counter to the goal of maximizing true prosperity. Today, most developed nations rely primarily on GDP and “unemployment” metrics to measure the success of their policies. The problem with these metrics is that they don’t measure what matters most to the individuals and families within a nation’s communities.

A Principle-Based Approach

Admittedly, that last point is debatable in our post Century of the Self world, where “stuff” matters a lot more than it should to a large number of people. However, we believe that as we move through the Great Reset, the shaking the world is experiencing will increase. The allure of “stuff” will lose its luster for many people as they begin to realize the value of human relationships. Our answer in the midst of this transition is to take a principle-based approach to the design of a new means of value exchange. One that promotes increasing the value of our fellow human’s well-being over increasing the production of “stuff.”  

The Statemen Project has a list of 12 Master Principles which formulate the basis for our design. These principles have proven over time and across cultures that, when implemented, they will produce the greatest degree of freedom and prosperity for the most people possible. That is in part because these principles deeply influence the outcomes of human interaction. They support the Principles of Kingdom Building which are extensively developed in “I Came to Give” and are summarized as follows:

  • Cooperation: The choice to work with others as we give our unique gifts and talents (division of labor) to invest in other’s well-being (through service-based power/reciprocity/community), which strengthens trust in and between people in the community (results-based reality).
  • Stewardship: The choice to acknowledge that God owns everything (jurisdictional government). Our responsibility is to “cultivate” the earth for its highest and best use (service-based power) as the means to build strong communities (results-based reality). 
  • Abundance: When we make the (choice) to believe God’s promise to provide for us (trust) as we perform our specific function on earth (division of labor). This will increase economic output so that the needs in the community are met (results-based reality).
  • Equity: The (choice) to help your neighbor (service-based power) increase their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, which is necessary to protect their identity, develop a healthy community (reciprocity), and build the Kingdom of God (results-based reality).

We are focusing on creating a real-world, practical framework for economic development based on these principles, rather than simply the “ideal.” It gives us the best opportunity to produce outcomes that benefit the most people possible. Oversight of the systems that we build according to these principles is best done at the local level. That makes them, in essence, Principles of Community Building. Few serious-minded community development advocates can argue against them stated as such.

Therefore, we can and will take these principles into any debate where decisions are made on the design and construction of economic systems, and the stated outcome is freedom and true prosperity for the citizens of a community. We look forward to the coming years when the successful implementation of these new systems begins to bear fruit.  

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The Pinnacle of King Solomon's Wisdom

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Money, Nation

In 1 Kings 3, when God asked Solomon what he wanted Him to give him, he asked for wisdom and discernment. God was well pleased with Solomon's answer and replied, "Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days." Therefore, most Christians will rightfully tell you that King Solomon was among the wisest people ever to live.

The remainder of book of 1st Kings and much of 2nd Chronicles is an account of King Solomon's reign after God made this promise. In fact, 2nd Chronicles begins with the statement that "God was with him and exalted him greatly." Those two books indeed record a Kingdom that under his leadership grew into one the likes of which the world had never seen before. It was a time of incredible prosperity. This can plant in our mind the idea that God's intended final outcome of the expression of Solomon's wisdom was a kingdom characterized by "riches and honor." As such, many people read the book of Proverbs with the expectation of applying its wisdom to build such a "kingdom" for themselves.

But what if that is not what God intended?

All Is Vanity

Unfortunately, many if not most Christians stop reading about King Solomon's life and wisdom at the end of the book of Proverbs.


Jesus did not live or teach that a kingdom characterized by Solomon's riches and honor was what He came to give. On the contrary, His teachings about the trappings of striving for riches and honor are clear. That alone should cause us to re-examine how we interpret the final outcome of God's promise to Solomon. What if instead of granting Solomon supernatural wisdom in all matters, He instead granted him a life full of experiences that would lead him to the ultimate discovery of what is produced by properly applied wisdom? This is the conclusion that you will reach if you keep turning the pages after reaching Proverbs Chapter 31 and read the very next words in the Bible:

"The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 'Vanity of vanities,' says the Preacher, 'Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.'" Ecclesiastes 1:1-2

Wait, what?

Beginning in Chapter 1 and continuing throughout the entire book of Ecclesiastes is a record of King Solomon working through a massive case of cognitive dissonance. He lived nearly his entire life believing that the kingdom he built, filled with riches and honor, was the pinnacle of the expression of the wisdom God granted him. Yet as he came to the end of his life, he realized that it was all… vanity, which in the Hebrew means, "emptiness, something transitory and unsatisfactory; a vapor, breath."

You can see Solomon's utter confusion in statements like those found in verses 16-18 of Chapter 1:

"I said to myself, 'Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.' And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain."

He continues with struggling to sort this out in Chapter 2, verses 12-17:

"So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. Then I said to myself, 'As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?' So I said to myself, 'This too is vanity.' For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind."

So, are we to conclude from these passages that all wisdom is vanity? No. As you read the book (and I encourage you to do so as soon as you can), you see Solomon working through the reality of the degree to which he misapplied wisdom in his life and the consequences it bore. He begins to separate what is truly important from what is not.

  • In Chapter 5, he concludes that abundance, as measured by money, is vanity (v10).
  • Basic needs bring peace when you are satisfied by them (v12).
  • So does being productive and happy when laboring according to the portion of God's image that he placed in you (v18-20).
  • His final conclusion is that all of this is available when you simply love God and obey His commandments (chapter 12).

Solomon's life, studied and understood in the full context of his writings, serves as an indictment on the West's misapplication of the wisdom contained in the book of Proverbs. Over the last one hundred years in particular, the West has taught the rest of the world that the goal is to build a kingdom/nation upon the foundation of an economic system characterized by creating material "riches" and the "honor" associated with its success. In reality, such a kingdom is no different than that built by Solomon – one that he himself concluded was vain and meaningless in the eyes of God.

At Project Thrive 21 we seek to learn from Solomon as we join God in the unfolding Great Reset. Our responsibility is to create value exchange systems that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can use to build a Kingdom that truly represents the pinnacle of Solomon's wisdom. We intend to do just that.

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Micro-Deposits Will Change the World

Doug Tjaden Economics, Emotional Equity, Physical Equity, Spiritual Equity

The image that popped into the minds of more than a few people who read the headline to this article could have easily have been one of a person paying someone online a tiny amount of cryptocurrency through some browser or phone app. After all, the prospect of making “micro-payments” is one of the holy grails of the crypto world. Tens of millions of dollars (maybe hundreds of millions) are being invested in creating an ecosystem where you can, for instance, read an article like this one, click on an icon on your browser, and walla! You just paid the author the equivalent of 25 cents worth of some cryptocurrency.

As someone who has followed and studied the crypto world for several years, the idea that creators of value can be compensated in this way is pretty exciting. After all, creating a decentralized and direct peer-to-peer exchange of value is one of our major goals. With that said, this type of micro-payment, should it come to be adopted on a global scale, is not what will ultimately change the world in the coming century. However, micro-deposits will. Let me explain the difference.

Consider the fact that every interaction we have with God contains an offer of value exchange. In every encounter, He wants to build our Equity (emotional, physical, and Spiritual well-being). While God requires nothing in return, He is certainly pleased if we choose to accept His offer and at least demonstrate gratitude in exchange. Because we are made in God's image and through that image perform His functions on earth, it makes sense that He wants our relationships with others to be founded on that same dynamic. In fact, Scripture tells us that we are given the opportunity every day to “be” the hands and feet of Jesus.

So what does that have to do with micro-deposits?

Every day when you and I interact with other human beings, there is an unspoken and non-monetary value exchange. These real-world “trades” happen billions of times every day around the world without us even thinking about it. Because we have been so conditioned to measure value in monetary terms, most of us have lost the ability to "see" the flow of value in something as simple as a word of encouragement. Or a smile. Or an act as seemingly insignificant as how we treat other drivers on the road.

Yet each interaction we have with our fellow human beings is an opportunity to intentionally make a micro-deposit into their Equity account and not a micro-withdrawal.

Please stop and think about that for a moment. Our words and actions create either blessing or curse. They make deposits or withdrawals of Equity in doses large and small. That is why at Project Thrive 21, we help people see these trades and their impact on the lives of real human beings, made in the image of God. When the economy of the Kingdom of God expands to include and prioritize making these micro-deposits, it will transform the world in ways we can't yet imagine.  

And guess what? We don’t need a phone or browser app to make these deposits. Nor do we have to succumb to a scarcity mindset and worry about how our Equity balance will be replenished. If the person in whom we make the deposit gives us nothing in return (no “thank you,” no returned smile, no acknowledgment of an act of kindness), that’s okay. Because on this trading floor there is always a Third Party present. One with an abundant, indeed a limitless, supply of Equity to share with us. In fact, He always tops off our account with more than what we gave away.

Over the coming decades, micro-deposits of Equity are going to change the world - if we get our mind wrapped around the critical role they play in God’s economy and start making it a point to engage in a lot more of these “trades.”  

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Choose Now How You Want To Live

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Featured, Sustainability

As I survey the landscape today, I’m struck at just how important of a crossroads we are at in so many areas of life. The “Great Reset” is now fully engaged. In the introduction of my book, “I Came to Give” I wrote the following:

“Over the next decade, this Reset will alter the very DNA of every system that manages the interaction of human beings within the seven spheres of cultural influence. Together, these spheres shape the destiny of nations and their citizens. They are education, business, government, media, arts, religion, and family.

Each of these spheres has a network of practical, real-world systems that coordinate the flow of information and value exchange within and between them. As we proceed through the Great Reset, these systems will all be re-engineered on a scale and at a speed not witnessed before in human history.”

Those words were written in the early fall of 2020. It was pretty evident then that the world was rapidly changing. The underlying cause of that change was not necessarily all that clear. As was mentioned in the last article, “Inertia Has Been Broken,” a major reason we see the change that we are is due to the clash between the “public” and the “elites.”

As I’ve considered this reality over the last several weeks, it has become evident that we, the citizens of the world, have before us a fundamental choice to make that will have generational consequences. The choice is where we want to invest our energy in order to set the direction of what is certain to create a new “societal inertia.”  

Choice #1: Burn it Down

Presently, there is a growing trend toward the organic organization of people in the “public” to “take on” the elites and expose their vulnerabilities, flaws, and in the end, undermine their authority. Taken to the extreme, this choice will lead to more than de-legitimizing the authority of the elites. It will “burn down” the elite’s existing governing and financial systems.

The problem is that the “public” only offers vague notions of what they propose to replace the systems they are burning down with. Furthermore, they have no authority or organization to build those vaguely defined systems.  This strategy is destined to fail to achieve the very goals they wish to achieve. Anarchy has never proven to be a valid governing system. It is in fact, no governing system at all. Satan himself learned just prior to the flood that God will not tolerate anarchy.

So I ask the question:

Will the “public’s” strategy of burning down the world’s systems help our local communities to thrive?

Many believe that the revolt of the public is necessary to create awareness among the citizens of the world of the depth of corruption and fragility of the elite's systems. When taking this position, one must consider two very important issues.

First of all, what is the threshold of critical mass a movement must reach before a change occurs? It is relatively widely accepted that when between 20 and 25% of people actively promote a new way of achieving something, the rest of society follows. That’s important because it is a much lower number than most people in democratic societies believe it is.

The second issue is even more important because it addresses the direction the critical mass of people are moving when they reach the tipping point of affecting social behavior. According to “Revolt of the Public,” there is growing inertia behind the movement to burn down the elite’s systems. Should they reach critical mass, what should we expect? A sudden realization that they have “won” and a shift to building new systems?

That view is naïve because it ignores the historical reality of the mass behavior of crowds. What is much more likely is mass chaos on a global scale as more and more of the "public" decides that burning systems down is a good idea. Governments would topple. Financial systems would collapse. And to top it off, there would be no legitimate authority structures in place to pick up the pieces.

I don’t know about you, but that isn’t a world I want my family to live in.

Choice #2: Build it Up

Imagine if the tens of millions of dollars thrown at GameStop stock in an attempt to burn down some hedge funds was instead put toward building a new way to exchange value within our communities. One that lived alongside the existing system. One that created choice in the financial world.

And it’s not just about the money invested.

Imagine if the hundreds of thousands of people who “invested” their money in GameStop stock also invested their God-given talents and their time into building Equity in their families and communities as a foundation to support that new system.

Which investment would pay larger and longer-term dividends?

I think the answer is obvious. That is why we at Thrive 21 are Equity Builders, Resiliency Builders, and Economy Builders.

The key word is “builders.”

Our purpose is to create a world where inertia is moving in the direction of building. Therefore, when a critical mass of citizens in a community, nation, or even the world, reaches a tipping point, it is one where exponential building takes off, not exponential burning.

If you are interested in creating inertia behind a future like this for you and your family, I invite you to join us and share this article with others who want to do the same. We may be just beginning, but inertia is beginning to “build.”

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Inertia Has Been Broken

Doug Tjaden Economics, Featured, Sustainability

It may seem strange to some that I am fascinated by how the basic laws of physics, at least in principle, impact both the material and spiritual world. The first and second laws of thermodynamics largely explain a great deal of the struggle we have here on earth to overcome the effects on Creation due to the fall of mankind through Adam. I expand on that in some detail in chapters 1 and 3 of I Came to Give.

Another powerful law of physics is inertia, which states that an object in motion will stay in motion, and an object at rest will stay at rest unless energy is applied. This law also applies in principle to the spiritual world as well. It is a well-known axiom that human beings are, for the most part, “creatures of habit.” That phrase simply gives language to the law of inertia at work in our patterns of behavior.

Families, communities, and entire nations can generate tremendous spiritual inertia. For it to sustain itself over generations, the systems that manage our “economic energy” must evolve to support the established “habits.” Once entrenched, the amount of energy required to meaningfully change their trajectory is significant at the family level and nearly incalculable at the national level.

Leading up to the year 2020, it seemed there was an established trajectory that would lead the world into a period of stability and prosperity. It was all a façade. In his book, The Revolt of the Public, Martin Gurri reveals that for years there has been a growing chasm between those in positions of authority (whom he calls the elites), and the public, whom he describes as follows:

“The public is composed of those self-selected persons interested in [an] affair, it possesses no legitimate authority whatever, and lacks the structure to enforce any authority that might fall its way. The public has no executive, no law, no jails. It can only express an opinion, in words and in actions—in its own flesh and blood.” Gurri, Martin. The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium (p. 98). Stripe Press.

For over a decade, the disconnect between the elites and the “public” has been a growing source of pent-up energy, like stress on a fault line. The proliferation of information available to the public has exposed the fallen nature of the elites and fueled their disdain for them. In 2020, the pandemic and increasing geopolitical instability revealed that this energy had broken the fault line, and the world was being established on a new trajectory.

Many people fear that this new trajectory favors global chaos, where the elite will use the disruption of inertia to gain control over humanity. Those who believe this may cast a cynical eye toward our belief that the world ahead is one that will be characterized by abundance and not extreme scarcity.

Left to our own power, they very well could be right.

However, we have at our disposal the one source of power that can harness enough energy to bring chaos on a global scale into order - the power of the Holy Spirit. Every day He directs hundreds of millions of individual’s “economic energy” to build the Kingdom of God. When the ekklesia gets its mind wrapped around the reality that the systems that manage our economic energy are designed to work against us instead of with us, the power of the Holy Spirit will give them the courage (power) to design and adopt new systems. It will be a major turning point in human history.

Yes. Inertia has been broken on a massive global scale, rarely experienced in human history. However, a new trajectory has not yet been established. Like wet cement, there is a limited period of time to shape the world before it settles. The public is restless and searching for answers. It is our responsibility to take this opportunity to bring forth answers that will realign the world’s disrupted systems according to God’s original design and intent. That is a very tall order indeed. But I believe we are up to it.  

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We are Defining a New Century

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Emotional Equity, Featured, Physical Equity, Spiritual Equity

Amidst all of the uncertainty in the world today, there is an understandable tendency to fall into fear. After all, we see significant political, economic, and cultural conflict occurring simultaneously in nations around the world.


With so many nations and governments and cultures involved, it can lead one to believe that the answer to that question is complex. However, when there are so many variables involved, yet the outcome is the same, it actually means the root cause is relatively simple. This is where principle-based thinking can help.

Those who understand that there is a universal set of “principles” that apply equally to people groups within every culture and who live in every time period are those equipped to identify the root of the problem. What is interesting about the times we live in is that the majority of people in the world today do not believe these principles exist. And therein lies both the problem and the solution.

In his book The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, Martin Gurri asserts that “We are caught between an old world which is decreasingly able to sustain us intellectually and spiritually, maybe even materially, and a new world that has not yet been born.” Here at Project Thrive 21, we concur.

Gurri’s conclusion is that we now live in a world beset by nihilism – a belief that traditional values and beliefs in objective truth are senseless, and that the social and governmental organizations based on them are so bad that destroying them is justified even though no legitimate replacement has been conceived and offered. Those who have read I Came to Give know that a major reason for this nihilism is that the world’s means of assigning and exchanging value were designed to produce human beings focused on themselves. The documentary, The Century of the Self, documented how for over a century, our system of Neo-Darwinian capitalism normalized that perspective.

That materialistic and unsatisfying way of life is being undone as the Great Reset begins to unfold. The question then becomes, “What will fill the void?”  Left to its own devices, nihilism and a complete breakdown in trust of our media, government leaders, and economic systems will lead to chaos. And to some degree, that is now unavoidable. We’ve simply traveled too far down the road.

The Century of the Selfless

Within turmoil and uncertainty, people will look for answers. As desirable as it may seem to many to “burn down the system,” the resulting lifestyle is not one they will want to remain in for long. And that is where the opportunity lies. In the end, the majority of the up and coming Millennial and Generation Z young adults are searching for a life with meaning. And there is no better place to start than by turning our back on The Century of the Self and embracing The Century of the Selfless.  

As nihilism produces its natural fruit, it will create a major shift in the coming years to a focus on helping rebuild the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of families and communities caught in its wake. Building this “Equity” will soon become a major “growth industry.” Project Thrive 21 is dedicated to creating a relational and economic infrastructure to support this emerging industry and to speed the process of the transition to the Century of the Selfless. It’s there for the taking if we are willing to take the radical, yet rewarding steps necessary to see it come to life.

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The "Relational Economy" - Our New Normal?

Doug Tjaden Community, Economics, Family, Reboot

In the spring of 2019 I visited my friend Uli Kortsch at his home in Colorado. It was one of the rare times we were able to sit down face-to-face and catch up on what God was doing in our separate, but parallel monetary reform universes. I’d written a white paper several months prior that focused more on economics than money. It was a first for me. The title was “Toward A Relational Economy” and I was interested to hear what Uli thought of it.

Now you have to understand that Uli is one of the most well read people that I know. If a book has been written on economics or money Uli has read it or knows of it. So as our conversation shifted to the white paper and my thoughts about how God intended economics to be much more relational than our Neo-Darwinian capitalist model (the paper is where I’d first used that term) he got a familiar look on his face. Sure enough, the next thing I knew he was leaving the room as he said, “I’ve got a book that you need to read.”

A minute later he came back and handed me a book that wasn’t as life changing as it was life affirming. The title - “After Capitalism - Rethinking Economic Relationships.” Uli doesn’t hand out books unless they are well researched and well reasoned and it didn’t take long to find out why Uli gave me the book. Just a few pages in I came across what accurately summarized the thesis of my white paper.

“The greatest challenge in moving from a Capitalist to a relational economic system is how to shift the goalposts from pursuit of business profit and personal gain to a focus on good and right relationship with God and neighbor. This priority has to be reflected, first of all, in how people use their time, as time for many people is their scarcest resource; arguably, it is also the most important ‘currency’ of relationship. So the issues is this: how can society demonstrate to outsiders, and to itself, that its greatest priority is quality of relationships in its use of time?” After Capitalism, pg 23 Paul Mills, Michael Schluter

The author recognized there are serious problems with an economy built around the three c's of consumerism, competition, and comfort. That never has been and never will be God's best. Our present NeoDarwinian capitalist system however, caters to these three c's. The result is poor stewardship of relational and natural resources and a breakdown in both society and the environment.

Jesus however, modeled an economy where relationship - love God and love your neighbor - is the focus of our time and energy. Equity (emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being) is the cornerstone of this "Relational Economy." It creates the means by which people can prioritize loving their neighbor by providing for their most basic needs, which in turn creates the trust and cultural stability necessary to thrive in any macro-economic environment.

The development of a Relational Economy will take time. We must first reprogram decades of cultural DNA that has been embedded with the three c's of our present economic and monetary models. But the work has begun, and with it the hope of a "new normal." One where future generations will find spending their economic energy on loving their neighbor so normal that they look at the 20th and early 21st Centuries with great sadness for all that humanity lost, and great joy for their future and generations to come.

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