I grew up in the midst of the Prosperity Gospel movement, and it’s left its mark, I’m afraid. I believed that God would bless (meaning financially bless) those who served the Almighty. It wasn’t only service, but God’s favor also came with financial reward.
I stood in the damp grass, on a warm afternoon, eating a veggie dog at the foreclosure-free picnic, with members of Mercy Junction. My husband started a worshiping community in Chattanooga, and they determined that housing issues would be a central part of their ministry. So they gathered, in solidarity with a man who was facing foreclosure after losing his job.
So can we put Newt Gingrich's personal life and rhetoric aside and focus on how we can fix our families? Can we move the discussion of family away from demonizing same-gender relationships and taking rights away from women? Can we have an honest discussion about what we can do to help American families?
You might be on a committee that thinks that a candidate needs that extra training before they ought to be ordained. They could use some time in a hospital setting or in a real world setting before they earn that REV before their name. If you are, then let me tell you something that the seminary student under your care can’t tell you: students can’t afford it any longer.
Everyone seems to agree that America's moral fabric is being undermined by the unwise proliferation of consumer credit. We readily believe those who claim that easy credit fuels rampant hedonism and leads many to bankruptcy. Wistfully, we compare ourselves to ancestors who supposedly controlled their spending and never went into debt. We believe that our present affluence is a bubble that will surely burst.
A study done a few years ago showed that a sign of a person’s incompetence is his or her inability to perceive incompetence. Nowhere does this inability to have an objective, accurate, reality-based view of our performance show itself more than in the spiritual realm. When it comes to moral character, purity of heart or duplicity in actions, how many of us have given serious thought to how our lives would be graded in the eyes of a holy, just, righteous, truth-telling God?
Looking back to history to find yet another approach to atonement will not solve the problem, but a reconsideration of the physical or mystical theory of how Christ saves us might contribute to more fruitful and civil conversation.