SAFE HAVENS... CHEAP!

Apr 30, 2004


MARKET NEWS DIGEST

-> GOLD: Logs monthly loss over $40 -CBSMW
-> STOCKS: Down on day, week, month -CNNfn
-> Greenspan: High oil prices here to stay -CNNfn
-> Consumer confidence rises in April -CBSMW
-> $50 bill gets colorful, hi-tech makeover -USAToday
-> March New Home Sales Record Rise -Bloomberg


COMMMENTARY

-> NOTHING HAS CHANGED -The Aden Sisters
-> BIG OPPORTUNITY FOR SMALL INVESTORS -Craig R. Smith, SATC
-> THE US DOLLAR AND GOLD -Richard Russell, DTL
-> THE GOLD AND SILVER OF THE S.S. REPUBLIC -Nat. Geographic
-> 10 SIGNS YOUíRE IN AN HISTORIC CREDIT BUBBLE -Trader Dick
-> WILL THEY STAY OR WILL THEY RAISE? -John Mauldin
-> THE PASSIONATE PERSPECTIVE -Dennis Peacocke, Gostrategic


FOUNDERS QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you. ... From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death."

--THOMAS JEFFERSON

Read More Founding Father Quotes at RediscoveringGold.com


MARKET NEWS DIGEST


Consumer confidence rises in April - CBSMW
Brighter job outlook provides first increase in four months
By Rex Nutting, CBS.MarketWatch.com
April 27, 2004

WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- U.S. consumer confidence improved for the first time in four months in April, aided by a brighter job outlook, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index improved to 92.9 in April from 88.5 in March. The present situation index increased from 84.4 to 90.6, the highest since August 2002. Meanwhile, the expectations index rose to 94.5 from 91.3.

The number of Americans who say jobs are hard to get fell to its lowest level since November 2002.

"This latest improvement in consumer confidence was sparked by a more favorable assessment of current business and labor market conditions and increased consumer optimism about the next six months," said Lynn Franco, director of the board's consumer research center. "The job market, which has a major impact on confidence, appears to be gaining strength."

http://www.cbs.marketwatch.com


March New Home Sales Record Rise -Bloomberg
By Joe Richter and Carlos Torres

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. sales of new homes rose to a record 1.228 million annual rate in March, reflecting cheap financing and an improving job market that are bolstering the economy.

Single-family home sales rose 8.9 percent, exceeding forecasts, from a revised 1.128 million annual pace in February, the Commerce Department said in Washington. New home sales reached an all-time high of 1.085 million in 2003.

Mortgage interest rates last month approached four-decade lows and companies added the most workers to their payrolls than at any time in almost four years. Builders such as Centex Corp. and D.R. Horton Inc. are confident rising employment will underpin sales. A measure of the supply of homes for sale fell to the lowest since August, while the number of houses sold and not yet started reached a record.

``People may be looking ahead expecting rates to go up and they're getting drawn into the market,'' said Elisabeth Denison, an economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, in New York.

http://www.bloomberg.com


STOCKS: Down on day, week, month -CNNfn
Nasdaq leads market lower Friday and in April as investors worry about rising interest rates, Iraq.
April 30, 2004

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - U.S. stock markets tumbled Friday, at the end of a brutal week and choppy month as worries about rising interest rates and developments in Iraq overshadowed stellar corporate earnings.

According to preliminary tallies, the Nasdaq composite (down 38.60 to 1920.15) lost 1.8 percent, closing lower for the fifth session in a row, and continuing its month-long pattern of falling more than the other indexes.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (down 6.60 to 1107.24) index lost 0.6 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average (down 8.20 to 10264.04) lost 0.2 percent.

All three indexes also closed lower on the month, particularly as a result of the steep selling in this past week.

For the week, the Dow lost around 2 percent and the Nasdaq lost 6.5 percent, according to early results.

A month of strong first-quarter earnings and improving economic indicators left market participants confused as to how to respond -- by cheering the strength or worrying about the inevitable rise in inflation and interest rates that is bound to result from that strength. For the most part, worries won out.

The same trend played out Friday, where solid earnings from Dow component Procter & Gamble and other blue chips couldn't compete with the market's negative tone.

http://www.cnnfn.com


Greenspan: High oil prices here to stay -CNNfn
Fed chief says higher prices affect businesses but that U.S. is also less energy dependent.
April 27, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday the likelihood of persistently high energy prices would probably help keep U.S. energy use in check and influence energy-related business investments.

"The rise in six-year oil and (natural) gas futures prices is almost surely going to affect the growth of oil and gas consumption in the United States," Greenspan said in remarks prepared for a conference on energy security.

In his speech, which did not touch on the current outlook for the U.S. economy or interest rates, the Fed chief said the "dramatic rise" in oil and natural gas prices in recent years suggested such elevated prices would prove to be the norm.

"The recent shift ... has been substantial enough and persistent enough to influence business investment decisions, especially for facilities that require large quantities of natural gas," Greenspan said.

"Although the effect of these developments on energy-related investments is significant, it doubtless will fall far short of the large changes in our capital stock that followed the 1970s surge in crude oil prices," he said, adding that the U.S. economy was much less energy-dependent than in the past.

The Fed chief said the "dramatic rise" in oil and natural gas futures prices in recent years carried the potential to "significantly affect the long-term path of the U.S. economy."

Market power

Greenspan said the U.S. must expand global trade in natural gas so further price spikes don't harm the world's largest economy, adding that high oil prices "presumably" reflected concerns over the potential for long-term supply disruption in the Middle East.

He noted that market forces were as important a determinant of prices as the oil-producing OPEC cartel.

"Although OPEC production quotas have been a significant factor in price determination for a third of a century, the story since 1973 has been as much one of the power of markets as of power over markets," Greenspan said.

"The signals provided by market prices have eventually resolved even the most seemingly insurmountable difficulties of inadequate domestic supply in the United States," he added.

Crude oil prices have been above the $22 to $28 target price range set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for all but one working day since last November, with U.S. crude prices hovering near $38 a barrel in recent days.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told the conference earlier experts had underestimated oil demand in the first quarter. "There are signs that worldwide inventories have begun to build but no one really knows for sure," he said.

At a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven nations over the weekend, Greenspan had said precautionary stock building was partly behind surging energy costs, according to French officials.

In a statement at the conclusion of their talks, the G7 ministers heralded a building global economic recovery, but said further oil price rises posed a threat.

http://www.cnnfn.com


Gold logs monthly loss over $40 -CBSMW
Investors use price weakness as buy opportunity
By Myra P. Saefong, CBS.MarketWatch.com
April 30, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Gold futures closed out April with a cumulative monthly loss of more than $40 an ounce Friday, as growing expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike dulled interest in the precious metals. Investors, eager for a buying opportunity, were alured back to the precious metal by a drop to a six-month low on Thursday and Friday.

"Once the news went out that the U.S. economy was improving and [Federal Reserve Chairman] Alan Greenspan declared deflation was not an issue, investors were concerned that interest rates were headed higher sooner and maybe by more than expected," said John Person, editor of The Bottom Line newsletter. "The dollar rallied on this and gold tumbled."

Gold for June delivery closed at $387.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- well below the $428.20 level it closed at on March 31. The contract lost $8.20 an ounce for the week.

But prices are trading at levels not seen since October 2003, and that "gives investors a better buying opportunity than before," said Person.

For the session, prices climbed 40 cents as traders reassessed a previously bearish outlook on metals demand.

"There is no way to just turn off the demand faucet in one day," said Person.

Concerns that China will cut back on bank lending "caused havoc in the metals complex and other commodity resource markets" on Wednesday, he said. Traders worried that the potential for a slowdown in the country's economic growth would eat into metals demand.

In Person's view, the market moves -- including a more than $13-an-ounce drop in gold futures -- "were extremely overdone reactions."

Bullish pullback?

Person believes the price declines this week were actually a "healthy correction" in what he sees as a "longer term up-trending market."

Peter Grandich, editor of The Grandich Letter, agreed. The fall in gold prices "could actually increase the chances we go to $500 or higher."

http://www.cbs.marketwatch.com

RELATED FEATURE ARTICLE:
Since 2001, Swiss America has recommended U.S. Gold Commemoratives (1903-1926) to our clients as part of a properly diversified portfolio of tangible hard assets. With the recent volatility in the gold bullion and lower grade generic $20 gold piece markets, U.S. Gold Commemorative coin prices have remained steadfast. Why?
READ: U.S. GOLD COMMEMS: BUY THE DIPS! -Craig R. Smith, SATC


$50 bill gets colorful, hi-tech makeover -USAToday

WASHINGTON (AP) ó The $50 bill is getting splashes of red, white and blue, the second of the nation's paper currencies to sport new hues beyond the traditional black-ink fronts and green-ink backs.

The makeover, being unveiled Monday, is part of an effort to make U.S. bills harder to counterfeit.

The extra color is subtle, similar to the look of the new $20 bill, which went into circulation last fall with a color treatment featuring touches of peach, blue and yellow.

"The new design is more secure than ever before. We believe it will be extremely effective in discouraging counterfeiters," said Treasury Secretary John Snow. "It's also a lovely piece of currency, maintaining the historic look and feel of a greenback while incorporating the elements of other colors that are very important to us in this country: red, white and blue."

The redesigned $50 is the same size and still features Ulysses S. Grant on the front and the U.S. Capitol on the back.

http://www.usatoday.com


COMMMENTARY


NOTHING HAS CHANGED -The Aden Sisters
Apr 23, 2004

The recent volatility and weakness in gold has been worrisome to many investors. Is this it? Is the bull market rise over? Or will gold head higher again? These seem to be the questions of the day, and at times like this itís important to stand back and look at the big picture since it helps to put things into perspective.

FUNDAMENTALS ARE INTACT

First, the recent weakness in gold has primarily been caused by the strength in the U.S. dollar. But considering the dollar dropped 30% over the past couple of years, the 7% rise over the past few weeks is not a big deal. Itís simply a rebound following the dollarís steep decline, which is normal.

The more important question is, has anything really changed for the dollar? The answer is no. The dollarís major trend remains down and as long as thatís the case, itíll be bullish for gold.

Plus, the twin trade and budget deficits continue hitting records and these have been key factors pushing the dollar lower. The war in Iraq has also been important and since itís now intensifying, itís going to become even more expensive, resulting in greater spending and ever larger budget deficits. This also increases the likelihood of terrorism as weíre now seeing and considering 9/11 triggered the dollar drop to begin with, that doesnít bode well for the dollar either.

Low U.S. interest rates have also kept downward pressure on the dollar as well, especially since U.S. interest rates are much lower than rates in most other countries. But lately thereís been a lot of talk about U.S. interest rates soon rising, which has given the dollar a boost because it would make the dollar more attractive. The facts, however, indicate otherwise.

Donít underestimate the election

This is an election year, and the White House and the Fed know very well that rising interest rates would hurt the housing market, the economy and the stock market. With Iraq turning sour, they obviously donít want the economy to turn sour too so theyíll likely be slow to raise interest rates until after the election.

If they simply canít hold off, however, then rates could rise moderately but theyíd still be lower than interest rates in other countries. In other words, the dollar would still be unattractive.

The bottom line is, nothing has really changed. Goldís major trend, which is the most important, remains up and the dollarís major trend is still down. And with inflation now starting to perk up, we believe these major trends will continue since inflation is very bullish for gold. If they donít, it would be unusual but we all know the markets can do unusual things when you least expect it, which means you have to stay alert.

TECHNICALS ARE INTACT TOO

One simple tool weíve found to be extremely valuable over the years is goldís 65-week moving average because itís been very good in identifying goldís major trends (see chart). When the gold price is above this moving average, the major trend is up, indicating gold is headed higher. On the other hand, when the gold price is below the average, itís bearish, the major trend is down and gold is going lower.

Currently, gold is above its moving average and it has been since 2001. This tells us goldís major trend is up and thatíll continue to be the case as long as gold stays above the 65-week moving average, which is now at $375.

So regardless of what gold does in the weeks ahead, it wonít be a problem within the big picture if it stays above $375. If it doesnít, then it would be another story. But considering gold and gold shares are now oversold and the dollar is near overbought, itís telling us these markets are near their lows and highs. That in turn suggests gold will not break below the $375 level. The fundamentals are also telling us the same.

Again, nothing has really changed and thatís essentially the case for gold today in a nutshell.

http://www.adenforecast.com

14 more articles by The Aden Sisters at SwissAmerica.com


BIG OPPORTUNITY FOR SMALL INVESTORS -Craig R. Smith, SATC
Apr 23, 2004

The bull market in precious metals has only just begun, according to a growing number of market analysts. While all investments have risk and past performance is no guarantee of future performance, conservative estimates are that both gold and silver could exceed the previous 1979-1980 market highs of $850/oz. and $50/oz respectively.

One of the reasons that Morgan Silver Dollars have such mass public appeal is that they are relatively inexpensive to own in comparison with rare U.S. gold coins. For example, prices start under $70 for a common date Mint-State 64 grade Morgan Dollar in a certified holder - including shipping and delivery!

Swiss America encourages serious coins collectors and first-time coin investors to begin a Morgan Silver Dollar collection for two primary reasons: 1) the fun of collecting and learning more about American history and 2) the potential profit in the years and decades to come. Coins can easily be converted back into cash at any time and used to suppliment retirement or simply held on to long-term and then passed on to the next generation as a legacy.

Given the confirmed "secular" (long-term) bull market in both gold and silver, we believe that NOW is the time for investors, big or small, to take a position in Mint-State Morgan Silver Dollars and then sit tight for at least 3-5 years minimum.

YOUR PERSONAL GOLD & SILVER STANDARD

Bottom line, it's up to you to take responsibility for putting yourself and your family on a personal gold and silver standard by simply converting a small portion of your assets into real money - like high-grade Morgan Silver Dollars and $20 gold pieces.

When you put yourself on a personal gold and silver standard, you're taking some of your money out of "IOU Nothings Assets" and instead taking physical ownership of debt-free tangible assets, or what we refer to as "You Owe Me Nothing Assets." Remember Economics 101 - rare coin supply is limited and the demand is rising!

Please take the time to discuss your personal financial goals with a Swiss America broker by calling 1-800-289-2646.

READ THE MORGAN SILVER DOLLAR RESEARCH REPORT


THE US DOLLAR AND GOLD -Richard Russell, DTL
Apr 29, 2004

I'm showing below a weekly chart of the Dollar Index. Question -- what are we looking at? Is this just another rally in a major downtrend? Maybe. But the Dollar Index is now pushing up and above against a second declining trendline. And the histograms at the bottom of the chart have turned up again. And I ask myself, "It this just another peak with the Dollar Index being halted by its long declining trendline? Or is this the beginning of an important reversal to the upside on the part of the dollar. As I write, it's too early to tell where we are with the dollar. But the chart gives me food for thought.

OK, what does all that I've written amount to? And what should we do about it -- if anything? First, all this is happening within the context of a primary bear market, a primary bear market that has been "contained," "held back," "thwarted," whatever you want to call it. For this reason I take what's happening very seriously. I don't like to fool around with angry, caged bears.

If interest rates break out on the upside, if the dollar continues to climb -- it's going to hit everything. It's going to cause an unwinding of the carry-trade. And it could trigger a move, even a rush -- to liquidity. It's going to set off a move to get out of all "things" and into cash. And cash is what the mass of Americans don't have. The real cash, the real liquidity, is owned and held by a very small percentage of Americans. What the great mass of Americans have is things: houses, cars, junk -- and lots of debt.

Now here's the hard part for me and my subscribers. If what I see above comes into being, there's a good chance that we could see pressure on gold shares. Gold shares are really a "call" on a higher price for gold. Sure, gold is real money, sure gold will triumph in the end, but for now the investment world sees gold as a commodity, like aluminum or wheat. They don't see gold as the only real money. So we could see pressure on gold, but more probably on the gold shares. I don't know for certain that we'll see pressure on gold, but it could happen. We've certainly seen pressure recently -- although this could simply be corrective action.

Personally, I'm going to hold my gold. Holding the metal doesn't worry me. I still have gold that I've carried from the '70s. Gold is the only real money. I don't care, inflation, deflation, boom or bust -- gold is money, and I can't say that about any paper currency. I'm holding all my gold.

The gold stocks could be another story. The gold stocks depend on rising gold for rising profits. In a deflation, or even in an atmosphere where gold simply "doesn't go up," the gold stocks could do poorly. For that reason and all the reasons that I described above, I feel that subscribers must make a personal decision about their gold shares.

In the long run, I believe both gold and gold shares will win. But a lot can happen between now and "the long run." Personally, I've decided that I'm going to sit with my gold-share position. But if I do anything additional in the gold area, it will be to buy more coins. What I care about is my total position -- but I'll let you in on a secret, the market couldn't care less whether you or I have profits or losses. The market is a law unto itself.

http://www.dowtheoryletters.com

WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT! -Russell, 4/14/04


The Gold and Silver of the S.S. Republic - Nat. Geographic
Apr 25, 2004

In 1865, the Republic set off from New York carrying some 90 passengers and crew. The double side-paddle wheel steamship was headed for New Orleans, a city whose economy had been wounded by the Civil War and was starved for hard currency. The Republic reportedly carried the solution: a consignment of gold and silver coins worth $400,000 at the time. But the ship never reached its destinationóit sank in a hurricane off the coast of Georgia.

Photograph by Odyssey Marine Exploration -- Gold coins and other artifacts found among the 138-year-old wreck of the Civil War-era steamship S.S. Republic are submerged in an aquarium and photographed for clarity. In National Geographic Ultimate Explorerís ďLost Gold of the Republic,Ē host Lisa Ling joins underwater explorers recovering one of the richest treasures ever discovered at sea.

For 138 years, the Republic and its lost cargo of riches represented every explorerís dreamóbut it was the dedication and hard work of Stemm and Morris that eventually led to its discovery. After combing countless square miles of the Atlantic with a variety of sonar equipment, the team of underwater explorers finally located the Republicís remains more than 1,600 feet to the bottom of the sea.

Photograph by Odyssey Marine Exploration -- An underwater photograph shows gold and silver coins found among the 138-year-old wreck of the Civil War-era steamship S.S. Republic.

With the help of the state-of-the art exploration and salvage vessel Odyssey Explorer, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Zeus and an arsenal of other high-tech tools and sensors, Stemm and Morris have begun to recover what could potentially be the richest treasure ever discovered at sea.

Numismatic Conservation Services and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation have been awarded the exclusive contract to conserve and grade the thousands of coins being recovered from the 1865 shipwreck of SS Republic. These gold and silver coins are being brought to the surface by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. of Tampa, Florida. Some of the highlights from this ongoing operation are featured here to showcase the amazing work performed by NCS to professionally conserve these treasures and by NGC to certify and encapsulate them for long term preservation.

FIRST SHIPWRECK COINS AVAILABLE MAY 2004

51,212 coins have been recovered as of April 2004, including 2,620 $20 Double Eagles, 1,496 $10 Eagles, 47,094 Half Dollars and 2 Quarters. Coins were picked up one at a time with a specially designed soft silicone limpet attached to the manipulator arm of Odyssey's 200 HP, 7ton remotely operated vehicle, ZEUS. The retail value of the coins recovered to date is estimated to be over $ 75 million.

The Odyssey team has excavated about one third of the SS Republic shipwreck site. The face value of recovered coins represents 22.7% of the "$400,000 in specie" (face value in 1865) that historical research indicates was on board the Republic when she sank. Odyssey is now searching for additional deposits of coins as the excavation continues.

Coins from the SS Republic have been divided into two categories. The "numismatic collection" contains coins that are indistinguishable from coins that have never been underwater. These will be priced to relate to their numismatic value and will not be offered for sale until Odyssey has completed sufficient coin recovery on the shipwreck site to provide information regarding the total population of coins in the collection.

The second category includes handpicked ungraded shipwreck coins that have been conserved and encased in a certified tamper-resistant holder by Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

The SS Republic "shipwreck effect" Liberty Seated Half Dollars are unique. Unlike the graded numismatic coins from the SS Republic shipwreck site, an expert can tell that these coins have been lying undisturbed in the deep ocean for 138 years. In most cases, the coins exhibit nearly full detail and collectors usually find them more interesting because their appearance can be traced to their historic heritage.

These "shipwreck effect" coins are the first available for sale and are packaged in an impressive hardwood display case with an engraved SS Republic plate affixed to the cover. A vividly illustrated booklet describing the shipwreck's history; a DVD video of the National Geographic Ultimate Explorer one hour program and a certificate of authenticity are also included in each case.

SOURCES: nationalgeographic.com, NGC.com, shipwreck.net

CONTACT YOUR SWISS AMERICA BROKER FOR PRICING AND AVAILABILITY AT 1-800-289-2646


10 SIGNS THAT YOUíRE IN AN HISTORIC CREDIT BUBBLE - Trader Dick
April 2004

10. Your neighbor buys a $40,000 SUV with his home equity line and tells you proudly that, "It's paid for."

9. Your mother-in-law enrolls in community college in order to enhance her lifestyle with student loans.

8. You buy a complete set of living room furniture and you don't have to make a payment for three years.

7. The economy is growing at 7% and the Fed Funds rate is at 1%.

6. Housing inflation in California is growing above 20% and the Fed Funds rate is at 1%.

5. GM makes more money off mortgages than from its core business.

4. You receive enough credit card solicitations to financially engineer a leveraged retirement twenty years early.

3. Your credit union is now offering an 8-year car loan and a 40-year mortgage and is proudly growing its asset base at 30%.

2. An interest only variable mortgage enables a McDonald's employee of the month to buy a $405,000 house (average price in California).

1. Your Fed Chairman's name is Easy-Alan Greenspan.

I was always taught to use long term loans to pay off long term appreicating assets. I was also taught to never make payments on a depreciating asset. I guess I can truly call myself "old-School" now...

[NOTE: Trader Dick [Richard] Spohr is a Sr. Broker with Swiss America ... More articles


WILL THEY STAY OR WILL THEY RAISE? - John Mauldin, Frontlinethoughts
April 23, 2004

With the theme song (circa 1979) from The Clash as our background music - Should I Stay or Should I Go? - we explore whether the Fed will raise interest rates this summer or postpone any actions until after the election. We look at a prediction by bond maven Jim Bianco, whose track record on these matters is quite good. He believes the Fed may raise rates as early as the June meeting. This seemingly arcane topic has important implications for your portfolio and the economy. It should make for an interesting letter.

But first, a brief update and commercial for my book, Bull's Eye Investing.

I woke up Saturday to find it had risen to #1 at BarnesandNoble.com. It stayed there for the weekend and has been at #2 behind Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, after an appearance on 60 Minutes rocketed his book sales. Surprisingly to me, Bull's Eye went to #7 at Amazon.com over the weekend, and has been fairly strong. Last week, I told you that B&N had a 30% discount and gave you a link. Those clever guys over at Amazon gave a 32% discount even as my letter was going out. You can buy two books and get free shipping, which seems to me to be quite the deal. For those interested in what the book is about, you can go to and read the Introduction to the book.

Will They Stay or Will They Raise?

Last week, I noticed a graphic on CNBC while Jim Bianco was speaking, which said he expected the Federal Reserve to raise the discount rate at their June meeting. I quickly flipped on the sound and got the tail of his interview, but missed the first part.

Long-time readers know I am on record as to not thinking the Fed will raise rates before the election, for a number of reasons. I still hold that view, although the markets are decidedly disagreeing with me. And they may have some cause, as Greenspan's latest testimony seems to indicate they are preparing the way for rate hikes. As always the question has been when and not if they will raise rates. I still think the "bet" is for after the elections, but the facts could change forcing a rate hike earlier, and we should look at that possibility and the consequences which would come from a rate hike this summer.

http://www.frontlinethoughts.com


THE PASSIONATE PERSPECTIVE -Dennis Peacocke, Gostrategic
April 2004

Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ," already has become the film phenomenon supreme, discussed far and wide from multiple angles. People I know in Hollywood, on the "inside" of the filmmaking establishment, say unequivocally that it has changed the industry forever in terms of breaking outside of the system. It not only reveals a massive audience for spiritual things other than "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or New Age feel-good-about-yourself trivia, it shows how Gibson's $25 million dollar personal investment busted the industry's financial hold on theatre exposure of independently-made films. Beyond that, it absorbed more primetime media exposure on news and talk shows than any film in history. However, once the liberal media realized that their "controversy" was actually helping the film, they went virtually silent except to acknowledge begrudgingly that the film was headed towards a phenomenal $600 to $800 million gross worldwide. Poor Hollywood and poor anti-Christ media! And no anti-Semitic response to boot!

The subject of the film, however, Christ's commitment to and experience of the crucifixion, make any and all other aspects of a mere film discussion seem meaningless and grotesquely absurd. The visualization of what He endured, coupled with a biblical understanding of why He endured it, actually is much more compatible with long periods of silence than long periods of speaking. My own reaction to the film has been more wonderment at the scope and depth of God's commitment to man than to discuss anything man has to say about films, culture, himself, or any opinions he holds about anything.

The cross of Christ has to be the defining moment of any and all things pertaining to man, his history, and his future. It looms so large in the cosmic scheme of things that everything else not only pales into insignificance, everything else actually must struggle to mean anything at all. Perspective is everything, the higher or deeper one goes in measuring the meaningful things of life. By that standard of reality, the shadow cast by Christ's selfless heroism at and around Calvary swallows and absorbs all other human good that the sum total of the human race collectively can offer. Indeed, in pondering its value and meaning, God's Spirit Himself must encourage us to go on daily in this life filled with trivialities, lest we simply "shut down" out of the apparent absurdity of what our lives really can add to anything in light of His cross. Yet it is His very cross that gives energy and meaning to whatever value flows out of our feeble lives and stumbling efforts.

The film should help us all in our journey to see the reality of the endless, measureless gap between our Creator and ourselves. However, in an act of cosmic paradox authored and worthy only of our God, Christ's cross both reveals the chasm between us and Himself, and eternally closes it at the same time. Indeed, that's what it's all about, and that is .... THE BOTTOM LINE.

http://www.gostrategic.org

READ: Co-Managing the Earth: The Foundational Work of the Christian Marketplace Ministry


ABOUT THE EDITOR

David M. Bradshaw is Editor of Real Money Perspectives, publisher of Rediscovering Gold in the 21st Century: The Complete Guide to the Next Gold Rush (7/01) and has been an economic commentator since 1987, when he produced the World Economic Perspectives radio show. In 1997, he produced a one-hour TV documentary, "Preparing Wisely for the Next Millennium," which was distributed free of charge at Blockbuster Video nationally. In 1999, he produced a one-hour radio special, "The Big Picture: The Shape of Things to Come" discussing geopolitical, economic and spiritual trends in the 21st Century. MORE...


DISCLAIMER: All of the information in this story is believed to be true, however errors are possible.
Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. All investments have risk. -SATC

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