When Christians Align Their Financial Lives with the Teachings of Jesus, Good Things Can Happen

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It’s not just Christianity and Judaism that warn people to be careful about their relationship with money. Islam rejects usury; Buddhism condemns greed as one of the three great poisons. Considering all this, it would be understandable if one concluded we should be afraid, very afraid, of money and what it can do to the soul — or, far more likely, engage in some serious compartmentalizing when it comes to our financial lives and our faith lives.

This is why it’s fascinating to see a rising current of people of faith and spirituality not taking poverty vows, not separating finance and faith, but embracing capital as a potent vehicle for the expression of their belief.

You’ve heard of values voters; these are your values investors. Microfinance providers, venture capitalists who fund only people and projects enhancing the common good, everyday church people who make sure their investments promote the same values as their donations — they are all part of an increasingly visible contagion trying to transform how we deploy our dollars.

“You can transform the world,” says Olivia Teter, a vice president at the spirituality-based RSF Social Finance, “if you can change the way people work with their money.”

There is much in this to be cheered, especially when you consider the villain role played by money or its absence in the big crimes (Madoff), political conflicts (government debt and spending), and family struggles (how to pay the mortgage?) so prominent in recent chapters of the national saga. What better area than our financial lives — collective and individual — for faith and spirituality to bring healthy change?

Listening to ordained Baptist minister Andy Loving of Louisville talk about money and the church, you quickly understand why he has often had gadfly status at the congregations where he has worked and worshiped. “The church subscribes to the gospel of Wall Street as much as anyone else,” says Loving, who finds his true calling as a faith-based financial planner. In an interview, Loving goes on to explain that churches generally do a great job of encouraging charity — including, of course, giving to the church — but rarely have much to say about how people direct their investment dollars.

Loving contrasts conventional investing — Wall Street economics — with what he calls “Sabbath economics.” With one, it’s all about getting the greatest possible return. With the other, the point is creating the greatest possible good while netting a good return in the process.

It’s not just Christianity and Judaism that warn people to be careful about their relationship with money. Islam rejects usury; Buddhism condemns greed as one of the three great poisons. Considering all this, it would be understandable if one concluded we should be afraid, very afraid, of money and what it can do to the soul — or, far more likely, engage in some serious compartmentalizing when it comes to our financial lives and our faith lives.

This is why it’s fascinating to see a rising current of people of faith and spirituality not taking poverty vows, not separating finance and faith, but embracing capital as a potent vehicle for the expression of their belief.

You’ve heard of values voters; these are your values investors. Microfinance providers, venture capitalists who fund only people and projects enhancing the common good, everyday church people who make sure their investments promote the same values as their donations — they are all part of an increasingly visible contagion trying to transform how we deploy our dollars.

“You can transform the world,” says Olivia Teter, a vice president at the spirituality-based RSF Social Finance, “if you can change the way people work with their money.”

There is much in this to be cheered, especially when you consider the villain role played by money or its absence in the big crimes (Madoff), political conflicts (government debt and spending), and family struggles (how to pay the mortgage?) so prominent in recent chapters of the national saga. What better area than our financial lives — collective and individual — for faith and spirituality to bring healthy change?

Listening to ordained Baptist minister Andy Loving of Louisville talk about money and the church, you quickly understand why he has often had gadfly status at the congregations where he has worked and worshiped. “The church subscribes to the gospel of Wall Street as much as anyone else,” says Loving, who finds his true calling as a faith-based financial planner. In an interview, Loving goes on to explain that churches generally do a great job of encouraging charity — including, of course, giving to the church — but rarely have much to say about how people direct their investment dollars.

Loving contrasts conventional investing — Wall Street economics — with what he calls “Sabbath economics.” With one, it’s all about getting the greatest possible return. With the other, the point is creating the greatest possible good while netting a good return in the process.

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Source:
BCCN1
USA Today | Tom Krattenmaker


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