Tag Archive: Economics


Down arrow In these difficult financial times, many church programs, building projects, and budgets are facing shortfalls.  As the offering plates lighten, churches are being forced to reconsider and redirect their finances.  Also, many in the pews are on edge, wondering how the church can effectively and efficiently minister in light of money shortages.

In his work, God’s companions : Reimagining Christian Ethics, Sam Wells offers an insight to our current dilemma:

It’s not about the limited money in the people’s pockets, it is about the limitless potential in their hearts and minds and souls and bodies.

Are we (pastor, church leaders, etc.) giving our congregations something to believe in?  Are we offering a vision that transcends members’ wallets?   How can we “bring out and empower the ocean of different gifts and talents” in our churches that doesn’t depend on money, but on our love and desire of God?

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How religious is your state?

I love numbers, maps, statistics, and religion. Evidence: I studied economics in college, and I am now studying religion in graduate school at Duke. So, a recent Gallup poll is right up my alley. Gallup is “examining state-by-state differences in party affiliation, religiosity, consumer confidence, and employer hiring and firing.”

How does your state rank?

State-by-state map

Salvation in Economics?

I hope everyone experienced a restful Sunday sabbath. Whether you spent time your time with family, friends, or on the couch napping (which is what I did), I pray that it was a blessed day.

First off, you’ll have to excuse my nerdy-ness, and remember that my undergraduate degree is in Economics. Moreover, I love to read and discuss economics, public policies, etc…Therefore, one of my “summer” reading books is: “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economists Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade.”

OK…..you can stop laughing at me now, but please read on!

As I started my summer reading the other day, the word “salvation” jumped out at me. Specifically, the author made the claim that globalization and free trade offer salvation, and not destruction, to the world’s poor and oppressed. While I would certainly agree with this “positive” view of globalization and free trade (I’ll spare you an economic discourse), the use of the word, “salvation” caused me to pause. I asked myself, “Can ‘salvation’ be used in non-Christian contexts?” What does it mean to say that economic policies and systems bring salvation to people? I thought only Jesus offered salvation. Do we lessen the meaning and power of “salvation” if we detach it from Jesus? Unfortunately, as I think about this, I come up with more questions and fewer answers.

Last semester at school, Dr. Hauerwas told us, “Here at Duke we are giving you an education in how to use language correctly.” While I don’t always agree with Dr. Hauerwas, I think here’s right about this. As Christians, using and understand language appropriately matters. During the worship service, Sunday School, devotions, etc….we constantly use, and strive to understand the words, “mercy,” “grace,” “forgiveness,” “salvation,” and many others. There are no simple definitions of these words. But we do know that God and Jesus are the source of these words’ power and effect on our lives. I just fear that these words lose some meaning when we don’t understand them as part of God’s –and God alone– essence.

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