Chattanooga’s economy is being misled by the day’s credit boom into building hundreds of hotel rooms in a declining market. Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites and Westin Hotel Chattanooga are bringing 728 hotel rooms on line through next year, says a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The buildup “could spell trouble” for hoteliers. Occupancy rates fell 10.4 percent in the first quarter of the year over the same year-ago period, with demand sliding 7.5 percent while supply is rising 3.2 percent, the newspaper said.
Signals and their uses
Americans are being led to believe that the same acts that caused the meltdown of 2008 are necessary to rebuild the economy and prevent depression. Inflating the money supply by extending credit wildly in every direction will improve the economy, we are told. That’s a signal. The hotel industry to some extent heeds it in its building boom. “For now, remember,” says Uncle Eric in a letter in Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, “that recessions or depressions are due to the bad policy of inflation. They reveal the mistakes and malinvestments businesses made under the influence of an inflation. Thus recessions or depressions are periods of correction in which business people try to better adjust production and prices to what consumers want” (italics added).
This morning I made note of several signals that seem misleading.
➤ Read the following paragraph from an Associated Press story in Sunday’s newspaper.
With its ranks deeply divided, the Boy Scouts of America is asking its local leaders from across the country to decide whether its contentious membership policy should be overhauled so that openly gay boys can participate in Scout units.
Do you see the artful handling to change the real story? Exactly. The phrase “its contentious membership policy” is the term of art. The policy is not contentious; it’s the howling homosexual activists who are the source of contention. The story speaks of “ranks deeply divided.” Again, a misleading usage suggesting a pretty close 50-50 split. Rather, 60 percent say keep homosexuals out, about 30 favor a change, the report says. If we understand events from the official scribes, we will not know whither we go. A carefully crafted pro-gay quote shows more of the thinking that affected David Crary, the AP writer. “We are absolutely dedicated to restoring integrity to Boy Scouting and reinvigorating the program,” [mom Tracie] Felder said. “That can only be done by removing the stain of discrimination.” News leads and such quotes work together to impress upon readers the hopelessness and marginality of the marriage and Christian virtue position, an effort that even neutral media shares in.
➤ A woman who lives on a street in my neighborhood was found slain Sunday morning as my family was enroute to church. Police sought her husband, Terry Releford, 34, in the slaying of the Tami. He was found dead today. Mrs. Releford had been expecting a baby, and had two other children. Headline: “Mother of two children killed in Hamilton County,” said TV 12 on wdef.com.
This miscounting is almost as bad as another that makes me shake my head every time I think of it. In October 2010 the Times Free Press tells this story. “NIOTA, Tenn. — A family of four and a fetus were killed in a head-on collision with a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer Friday on state Highway 68 at County Road 292.”
The headline: “Four killed in head-on collision near Niota.” Newspaper solicitors should not expect to find this unidentified East Tennessee family warm in receiving their phoned-in dinner-time invitations to subscribe.
Living a deepened Christian life
Sometimes signals are true — and confirmed. In a sermon this Lord’s Day the minister said that God’s grace is dear, expensive, costly. It echoed a quote I had read at the breakfast table after my cereal from a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Writes Bonhoeffer in his book, The Cost of Discipleship:
“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap? ***
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
Bonhoeffer goes on:
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Dallas M. Roark, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1972, Makers of the Modern Theological Mind series, ed. Bob E. Patterson), p. 76. Prof. Roark provides only part of the above quote.
Richard J. Maybury, Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, in “Uncle Eric” series (Placerville, Ca.: Bluestocking Press, 1993, 1989), p. 55
“David Crary, “Boy Scout vote on gays scheduled for Thursday,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, May 19, 2013
Shelly Bradbury, “More Room at the Inn[;] Hundreds of new hotel rooms coming on line in Chattanooga,” TFP, may 19, 2013