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Preachers Confront Greed and the Recession

A story in the CNN BeliefBlog examined pastors who are focusing on the recession and congregants’ personal responsibility to improve the country’s financial situation. The story read that the recession has become “a spiritual dilemma” for pastors since churchgoers need their fears addressed, preachers have to deal with their own anxieties first. These anxieties include the usual fears of preaching about money, but it also includes the worry that well-resourced attenders will stop giving money if they hear teachings about greed.

Andy Stanley, senior pastor at North Point Community Church in Georgia, recently launched a series discussing the economic recovery and the personal responsibility. “Any time the entire country is talking about something, pastors should pause and talk about it,” says Stanley. “We know what Republicans and Democrats think, but what does the Bible and Jesus say?” Others feel as though pointing fingers is unavoidable, saying Jesus called his followers to “struggle against people and policies” that led to the country’s economic situation. Vincent Miller, author and Catholic theologian, said, “Jesus took sides…you can’t preach the Gospel without alienating people…you’re not helping people if you’re not alienating them.”

And still others think pastors don’t fully understand the financial crisis and so can’t address it properly; Jay W. Richards from the Heritage Foundation says, “If a pastor suggests that the financial crisis happened because of a few greedy corporate titans and some Wall Street traders, that’s a sure sign that he doesn’t understand the crisis…denouncing a presumed gap between rich and poor is, more often than not, a symptom of economic confusion, not prophetic wisdom. It can mask envy…”

What do you think? Have you addressed the recession from the pulpit? How did you approach it? How did your congregation respond? Give us your thoughts in the Comment section below.