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Religious Leaders Struggle with Economy and Uncertain Future

Religious Leaders Struggle with Economy and Uncertain Future
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What do you think is the biggest social issue that churches struggle with today? Many people believe that gay marriage tops the list. But Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Bible Church in Beltsville, Maryland, struggles more with teaching his congregants about greed and the need to be frugal in today’s economic climate, the “Great Recession.”

CNN Belief Blog writer Jeff Blake spoke with Jackson about how to approach economic issues from the pulpit. “I’ve got to watch it,” Jackson said. “I could get into some big teaching on greed, but the reality is that a lot of that teaching may wind up creating anti-economic-growth and anti-capitalism concepts (in people’s minds)… I always talk about personal responsibility so we don’t get into the blame game.”

Many American religious leaders see their influence as crucial to congregants’ financial attitudes and behaviors, and most of them try to steer clear of giving explicit messages about how people should use their money.

Rev. Robin Meyers considers money to be the “last taboo” in the church. “It’s much easier to talk about sex than money,” he says. But, when the US economy has been recessed for so long, it seems that talking about money is exactly what leaders, religious or not, need to do.

The Christmas season was especially tough for ministers as they considered how to address the economy from the pulpit. They understand that “joblessness and insecurity is a part of life for many now,” according to the Wausau Daily Herald. Rev. David Klutterman chose to focus on the presence of God and the story of Jesus’s birth during his Christmas Eve service, rather than dwelling on earthly problems. While it is important for Christians to remember the traditional teachings during the holiday season, to me this seems like a “head in the sand” approach, and not particularly respectful to those who are struggling economically.

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Photo credit: aronki

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8:10AM PST on Jan 3, 2012

GEE, I was taught the GREED was ONE of the SEVEN DEADLY SINS.

9:38AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

uninterested in much the church has to say at all

3:45PM PST on Jan 1, 2012

George, you're on the right track– "The church message should always be of love and acts of kindness towards each other."

In fact, The Church's message is of love and acts of kindness towards each other, in, for, and because of the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

in him;


8:42AM PST on Jan 1, 2012


7:23AM PST on Jan 1, 2012

The church message should always be of love and acts of kindness towards each other. With that message, everything else comes. When one stops thinking solely of themselves and does for others, things have a way of working out. I wish people would stop attacking religion and bringing up past injustices. Spread the love and not the hurt.

6:45AM PST on Jan 1, 2012

PS to my earlier comment: Jim Wallis of Sojourners is one of the few White men who really understands God's views on justice. Not surprisingly, there're lots of Blacks who do!

Check out this article

What is ‘Biblical Politics’?
by Jim Wallis 09-15-2011

6:06AM PST on Jan 1, 2012

Terry k. - Yes, you are absolutely right but it just happened to be what I was thinking at the time.

6:04AM PST on Jan 1, 2012

lis G - Back in the 1980's I worked for an insurance company and was made aware that a particular church bought a forty million dollar annunity! At the time I thought the church had better uses for the money and I still do.

3:26AM PST on Jan 1, 2012

As humans we are supposed to grow and change put we have gotten stuck in a rut and we don't have any real thinkers now and those who go for change are bullied into the rut kinda like crabs.

11:13PM PST on Dec 31, 2011

Where is Jesus, now that we need him ? He should have showed us how to do that trick with the loaves and the fishes. Looking around, it’s obvious that we haven’t been praying hard enough, or thinking positive enough to bring the blessings that evangelists assure us God wants us to have.

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