Second, you have some interesting findings coming out of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research about Oscar-winner Al Gore. Al Gore's consumption of electricity and natural gas at his Tennessee mansion according to this report is $1,500/month or 20 times more than the national average. I will likely revisit this on a future blog.
But the blog idea that won out for me this week was whether Juice Plus is a worthwhile supplement. I hesitate to write this because almost everyone I know takes Juice Plus. Hopefully, I don't lose any friends over these opinions of mine. If you haven't heard about Juice Plus, it is a capsule that you can take daily that is supposed to give you many of the same benefits that you receive from eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
I listened to a cd that was put out on the product about a year ago and it seemed convincing. A quick web search turned up some testimonials from medical professionals swearing to the benefits of this product. Friends who used the product regularly claimed that they were avoiding colds and had noticed some health benefits. So, my family started taking the product.
I was a little surprised that it costs so much. A four-month supply of the fruits & vegetable pills and gummies for children (loaded with corn syrup) costs $244. My skepticism was raised due to the expense initially. I started researching the product online. I spoke to a vitamin consultant at a health foods store. The consultant's exact quote to me was, "I have been in the vitamin business for 25 years. First of all, there is no substitute for fruits and vegetables. Period. Second, there are supplements that make similar claims and have similar ingredients to Juice Plus that you can purchase at 1/3 of the price."
That comment made sense to me. That same week my wife- Amy- attended an educational lunch where the guest speaker was a registered dietician. The woman sells Juice Plus and gave a presentation on why proper nutrition is important and how Juice Plus can help. In an email conversation with my wife a comment was made that really got me thinking. The comment was that Juice Plus is legitimate because Ron Blue endorses the product.
Ron Blue is president of the Christian Financial Professionals Network- an organization that I am a member of. Ron Blue has been a well respected voice in the financial planning community from a biblical perspective. A search on Yahoo showed that you can obtain a cd from Juice Plus with a talk given by Ron Blue on the opportunities of a virtual franchise. I think virtual franchise is one of the new code words for network marketing; home-based business opportunity; multi-level marketing; etc...
You can read and study on Juice Plus and whether it is a good product to take. My family is going to a less expensive alternative personally. You can find some interesting research about the product at a wikipedia page on Juice Plus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juice_Plus
But a bigger issue to me is should a person of considerable influence in the church be endorsing products that are sold through network marketing? This is not meant to be a criticism of Ron Blue and I intend to ask him this question face-to-face next time I have the chance.
I am a cynic in many ways. I admit it. Sometimes, I wish I wasn't. Life would probably be more enjoyable. One of my thoughts that swirls through my head is that many of these large churches that exist in America are primarily in business to make leaders of the church filthy rich. Either through ministry related activities- Ed Young Jr, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen- come to mind. Or through the peddling of multi-level marketing products. I know some charismatic people who are in positions of leadership in the church who have amassed great wealth through a network marketing opportunity.
But this is not the norm. And here lies the problem. According to R. Hawkins research on network marketing:
- 95% of people drop out of network marketing within 6 months.
- 99% of people lose money or make absolutely nothing.
- The 1% that stay in average around $2,000 a year in profit
You can read about it at http://www.falseprofits.com
With those stats in mind, wouldn't Christians be better off if people of influence endorsed gambling as a better financial strategy than network marketing? Aren't the odds better at the blackjack table?
I don't endorse gambling. It is investing for people who are very bad at math. But the point is: why are so many people sucked into network marketing? And why was I sucked into buying a product that is overpriced and sold through this method? Perhaps we want to believe in the magic solution.
But there are no shortcuts to wealth or health. There are many great people who are involved in network marketing believing something about the product or opportunity that will likely not be found true in the end. Proverbs 13:11, "Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles. But the one who gathers by labor increases it."
For His Glory,