Monday Faith Links: Greed, Rob Bell on TV, Mark Driscoll’s New Site, etc.

Been a while again, but there’s some more interesting links to pass along.

Every weekend, CNN.com’s “Belief” blog posts interesting stories related to religion, and primarily related to Christianity. That was the case again this Sunday.

As the country teeters on the brink of another recession, CNN addressed the topic of greed on the blog this week. Specifically, why some churches and pastors are reluctant to condemn greed partly because they fear it will do more damage to our capitalist economy built on spending and accumulating “things.”

Here’s an excerpt from near the top of the article:

Though millions of Americans are angry over the economy, little moral outrage seems to be coming from the nation’s pulpit, they say. Too many pastors opt for offering pulpit platitudes because they are afraid parishioners will stop giving money if they hear teachings against greed, said the Rev. Robin R. Meyers, senior minister of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

“Money is the last taboo in church. It’s much easier to talk about sex than money,” said Meyers, who wrote about greed and the other seven deadly sins in his book, “The Virtue in the Vice.”

There are more comments from pastors around the country throughout the piece, with the point being to primarily show there are different approaches to how churches are explaining the economic crisis to their congregations as well as how they are encouraging them to go forward.

For the most part I think the article does a good job of presenting the issue and getting multiple views. Personally, I believe the church could do a better job of pushing members to give their resources more freely. Not only does that mean giving 10 percent, but living within your means enough that if you can comfortably give more than that (which many people could by living more within their means) then by all means do so.

Does that mean wealthy people need to rein in their lifestyle so that they can give more just to the church? Of course not. There are numerous charitable organizations in our community and others that could use those direct funds, whether they be homeless shelters or learning resource centers or even colleges that could give more scholarship money with donations from wealthy individuals.

The Bible never discourages people from making money, even making lots of money, but it’s what we do with that money that makes a difference.

I don’t agree that greed is the ultimate taboo subject (I still think a correct view of sex and gender roles is more taboo), but the church could address it more directly that it has been.

More Links

  • So Rob Bell has decided to leave pastoring and expand his reach. According to Christianity Today, that reach could extend into a television show soon. I’ll hold off judgment of this one until I know more about the proposed show, Stronger. It could be a great new avenue for the Gospel to engage culture, or it could promote a watered down version of Christianity. Or it could be something else entirely. Whatever it turns out to be, this is an interesting development.
  • Relevant Magazine had an article that resonated strongly with me. It addresses the desire that many people have to change jobs, locations, etc., in an effort to complete their spiritual journey. It’s a mind-set that shrugs off the notion that growth, adventure, and other exciting things can be had simply by staying put and realizing the full potential of where God has placed you right now. Anyway, a challenging message for those who have the urge to constantly be on the move.
  • I’m a fan of Mark Driscoll, and he now has a website dedicated to his thoughts on a variety of issues not related specifically to his church. Before he basically used Facebook and Twitter to express his ideas, but this new site already has lots of content on it and will be worth following.
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