Debts need to be canceled when they are out of control, and measures put in place to stop future debt crises. It's biblical and has been done before. Will you join the call for justice?
The biggest transformation in the U.S. economy since the 1980s has been the stagnation of the middle classes and the dramatic rise of the super-rich. Can it be turned around?
Sustainability is one of our most important issues, but many of us are apathetic because we feel powerless. It's time for all of us to think differently and create solutions.
Greece's crushing economic crisis has unleashed an abundance of challenges on Greeks and Albanian immigrants. Here are some of the everyday realities they face.
Many in the U.S. think the nation is moving in the wrong direction. Perhaps we could learn from Jesus' encounter with a foreign woman who changed his mind.
Africa will lift itself out of poverty when its leaders embrace God's standards for morality and his call to love your neighbor as yourself, a keynote speaker said.
Our economic systems are inherently inconsistent in the effects on the lives of people within a society, creating haves and have-nots. What would God's economy look like?
As Jesus' mustard seed parable points out, it's not the time to practice austerity when the ground is bare. It's time to invest in seeds. Will economic and political leaders grasp this?
Greece's economic problems are seriously dislocating for everyone, but research shows that the economic upsets are disproportionately felt among immigrants.
The job market continues to be tough for college graduates entering the workforce. For theology and faith-based majors, the answer may be to seek their graduate degrees instead.
CLEVELAND (RNS) The Euclid Avenue Church of God and the former Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration sit empty on this city's former Millionaires' Row.
Our economy's downward spiral has played havoc on our nation and world for the last few years. Perhaps the Bible's concept of creation can bring some order out of the economic chaos.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The world economy needs “new rules” to overcome the current financial crisis, Pope Benedict XVI told Vatican diplomats.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Europe’s economic and financial crisis is the consequence of an “ethical crisis” and a “crisis of faith,” Pope Benedict XVI said.
(RNS) Roberts was watching a Nightline episode on basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal when he heard about the size of his Florida home: 70,000 square feet.
Why couldn't economists have predicted the mess of today's global economy? Perhaps because many of them played a crucial role in creating the conditions that paved the way for the crisis.
(RNS) Charitable giving is trickling back up as the economy heals, but it could take years to return to pre-recession levels, nonprofit leaders say.
As political pundits blast the unemployed and underemployed while criticizing government efforts to help them, one wonders why faith leaders have ignored their distorted rhetoric.
(RNS) A small number of religious communities are removing their money to protest what they see as unfair mortgage foreclosures and unwillingness to lend to small businesses.
A chance airport conversation led to one foreign observer's view on what three steps the 99 percent should take if they want to make a difference, but they would rather chant than change.
BALTIMORE (RNS) Twenty-five years ago, Catholic bishops issued a statement that became the touchstone for religious opposition to “trickle down” economics.
LONDON (RNS) Authorities at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral have decided to suspend legal action against scores of anti-corporate protesters.
LONDON (RNS) London’s historic St. Paul’s Cathedral reopened its doors to visitors for the first time in a week.
SUGARCREEK, Ohio (RNS) An investment broker dubbed the “Amish Bernie Madoff” has decided not to fight federal charges that he defrauded thousands of investors.
TORONTO (RNS) The collapse of a lender that offered Shariah-compliant mortgages has left Muslim homeowners in the Toronto area with many questions.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican released an ambitious proposal for global regulation of the financial industry and the international money supply.
(RNS) Tithing to mainline Protestant churches as a percentage of income is at its lowest level in at least 41 years.
WASHINGTON (RNS) A city court dropped charges against a group of religious and civic leaders who were arrested during a prayer vigil for the poor.
BOSTON (RNS) They were met by typical sounds of raucous youth-led protests: drum beats, police sirens and shouted political slogans.
Albanians have worked hard at sub-par wages in Greece. Now with the country's economy in shambles, they must choose between a bleak future in their homeland or find a rare chance to continue working in Greece.
(RNS) The way you see God tells a lot about how you see the U.S. economy, according to a new national survey.
(RNS) Entrepreneurs behave just like most Americans when it comes to religion—but with one spiritual twist.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Dozens of religious and civil rights organizations challenged President Obama to end religious discrimination in federally funded jobs.
(RNS) The saying goes that when God closes a door, he opens a window.
Having earlier opposed the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest Americans, Republicans want to raise the payroll tax on the poor and middle-class.
The economy continues to decline. Financial benefits shift to the wealthy. Charitable dollars continue to plummet. And those suffering the most will be the ones about whom Jesus was most concerned.
(RNS) Shopping for a flat screen TV typically isn’t that controversial. Arguments may ensue, but those quarrels are usually short-lived.
(RNS) Prison Fellowship, a prominent evangelical ministry to inmates, has laid off dozens of employees, citing the faltering economy.
(RNS) The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are urging the GOP-led House to reject a cuts-only approach to the budget.
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) A federal judge said a state law that limits the sale of caskets to licensed funeral directors and establishments is unconstitutional.
(RNS) Abdullah Nana, an imam at the Islamic Center of Mill Valley, Calif., has a distinct advantage over many of his fellow imams in the United States.
WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama agrees with religious officials’ concerns about protecting the poor, according to leaders who met with him this week.
What's the Christian response to the national debt? How do the debt and our weak economy affect the poor? Participants viewing the EthicsDaily.com documentary on faith and taxes wrestled with these questions.
While they posture about standing up for human rights and dignity, Western governments are deeply indebted to repressive political regimes and enmeshed in exploitative financial systems.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) While not ready to go off the electric grid, Craker said living like the Amish financially makes a lot of sense.
Churches are often the last of the charitable organizations to recover after a recession. Here are four keys to help your church get out from behind the eight ball.
As dire warnings continue about the slowing down of global economic growth, few ask who bears the cost for such growth. As the rich play games with the economy, the world's poor suffer.
LONDON (RNS) The Archbishop has touched off a fury by accusing the British government of causing widespread “anxiety and anger” with its new austerity budget.
COVINGTON, La. (RNS) A federal lawsuit brought by a group of monks fighting for the right to sell handcrafted caskets without a state license is set to go to trial.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Ayn Rand published more than a dozen books. Now, liberal Christians say another work belongs in Rand’s canon: the 2012 Republican budget.
BEVERLY, Mass. (RNS) No sooner had 29-year-old Graham Messier joined a small group at his church earlier this year than he found himself breaking an American taboo.
Florida's lawmakers are considering two anti-immigration bills that would cost the state billions. Here are three reasons that the morally defective bills need to be dropped.
A panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis only sent a handful of cases to the Justice Department. In another case of selective forgiveness, the powerful and wealthy benefit.
(RNS) The recession was a double-barrel blow to American congregations: directly hurting their budgets while also stretching them thin.
With gas prices expected to exceed $4 per gallon during a struggling economy, churches could face catastrophic consequences. As churches make budget priorities, will we see single-cause congregations?
CANTERBURY, England (RNS/ENInews) A self-effacing multimillionaire has become a local hero after buying a series of 17th-century religious paintings.
For 69 riveting minutes, "Inside Job," which won the Oscar for best documentary, examines the financial meltdown caused by the larcenous greed of America's still-unregulated finance industry. (Photo: Representational Pictures)
We're all a little like the "blue-haired lady" in church, who's profoundly resistant to change. However, to work through this tough economy, churches will have to make changes. Here are three steps to take.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Catholic bishops threw their moral weight behind the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin.
(RNS) On a recent family trip to Africa, spotting American T-shirts and baseball caps became something of a parlor game.
(RNS) Convicted businessman Sholom Rubashkin has filed an appeal in hopes of a new trial, or at least a reduced sentence.
As long as their own dividends kept flowing in regularly, thousands of stockholders couldn't care less what the banks had been doing with their money. It's further proof that the rich live on the backs of the poor.
Nine major African-American denominations are working together for the betterment of their collective churches and the African-American community.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The Conference criticized Congress for linking extension of unemployment benefits to tax cuts for the wealthy.
NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) For Kerry Sifford, a trained security guard and graphic designer who was arrested years ago on a minor offense, finding a job has been nearly impossible.
During these rocky economic times, churches have to tighten their belts as offering-plate receipts slide. For too many churches, it becomes a time to find a scapegoat to blame.
Since 2008's economic meltdown, more people realize the importance of downsizing their lifestyles and reducing debt. Churches must follow suit. Here are 10 things they can put into practice.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The number of Americans struggling with hunger remained stable in 2009 despite the economic downturn, but remained at the highest recorded level.
The down economy has hit everyone hard, including churches. How do congregations navigate these economic waters? Here are five hard truths to help churches adjust to the new normal.
With every GOP leader preaching tax cuts, one Republican sounds like John the Baptist in the wilderness. His words affirm that Americans are in a dream world about cutting taxes. And we had better wake up.
WASHINGTON (RNS) A national network of faith-based organizations urged him to tackle problems with fraudulent foreclosures.
Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, spoke out against economic injustice and religious idolatry that favored the few at the expense of the many. Should he be the patron prophet for our times?
(RNS) The Crystal Cathedral has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors.
(RNS) Fans of Christian music and books may see a divine hand at work in bringing together all-star talent for the “Make a Difference” tour.
NEW YORK (RNS) For Nikhat Choudhury, the Muslim holidays mean spending lots of money.
(RNS) Within a short drive from her suburban New York home, Lisa Sharp has her pick of synagogues.
(RNS) Focus on the Family has announced 110 job cuts in the latest round of layoffs.
U.S. Sen. James Webb argued that present-day diversity programs have made whites the real victims of racism. His position would be laughable except a growing number of Euro-Americans seem to agree.
We live in a new financial world, and congregations need to adjust quickly to this new reality. When it comes to planning your church's budget, you can either prepare for the future or avoid pain at all costs.
When Wall Street was seen as a respectable and glamorous way to make money in the 1980s, many people dove into the free-for-all market. It lasted until 2008, when millions of Americans were thrown into poverty.
How is the nation redeeming itself after years of reckless economic growth? Rather than drawing on the abundance among us, we're forcing the poorest among us to endure the suffering for the rest of us.
While financial fractures continue to spread across churches and denominations, a new survey by the Barna Research Group indicates that large churches have been hit harder by the economy than their smaller counterparts.
Humans are more than economic puppets. As Christians, we are called to see others as equals who deserve good and just treatment. When the prevailing economic system fails, it must be challenged and changed.
The new victims of the recession – or "he-cession" – are men, who are losing more jobs than women. When more women were losing jobs last fall, where were the "she-cession" warnings?
The unfettered global economic system destroys the planet, sustains global poverty and undermines human life, the Baptist World Alliance president said.
Nobody denies times are tough. While it's wise to scale down to the essentials, the Bible teaches us an antidote for harsh times is sharing.
Baptist unions across Europe are being consulted on the future of the International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS), which is facing a funding crisis brought on by the global economic crisis.
The euphoria of the inauguration of Barack Obama has passed. Will we open our eyes to the unfinished business that lies ahead of us? Now is the time to be counted among those who will help President Obama pursue a more just and equitable society.
Like the hired hands of Jesus' day who ran for safety instead of protecting the sheep from wolves, many politicians lack the courage to protect the growing number of people who are suffering.
Modern-day "prophets of doom" have and are predicting dire times for our society. Their calls are reminiscent of the biblical prophets who decried living for self and rejecting the divine command to care for each other.
The Missouri House has cut funding for social and mental health services. While all major faith traditions have a concern for the poor and vulnerable, we can't do it alone. We need the government to provide essential services.
An estimated 35,000 marchers made their voices heard to the leaders at the G20 summit, but those demands were often mixed and confusing. No real progress was reached on climate change, but two key financial initiatives were reached.
Some opponents upset by President Obama's announcement to push for immigration reform this year are using the economy as a reason to take no action. Their rationale is just the latest smoke screen.
Money is scarce, prices are soaring and unemployment reigns in this global financial crisis. It’s a time to scale back to the essentials, but Jesus reminds us that life’s essentials are more than food and clothing.
The economic crisis we are in was created by our greed – an addiction to always wanting more. This system has now come crashing down, and the world's poorest suffer most from the consequences.
Some have praised the G20 summit but can its promises really transform the global economy, which is turning life into a Monopoly game that the vast majority of the world can never win?
Fewer Americans claiming to be Christian may reflect a move away from church politics and denominationalism. Despite the downward trend, two economists say a return to faith is near and will be good for business.
It is hard to have a consistent ethic when you look at the economic mess that we are in. Will we learn from the lessons of greed and impatience or will we look for a new Ponzi scheme?
Over 50 percent of nonprofits surveyed said the recession will have a “permanent negative financial effect on their organizations.”
So long as we persist in holding on to the idea that government is some sort of alien power, is in fact our adversary, we will live as a nation divided against itself.
Americans of faith and those unaffiliated with a faith group agree that fixing the economy should be the government’s first priority, according to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life analysis.
The worse the recession gets, the more desperate many people and families become. And the more desperation people feel about their finances, the more urgent it is for legislators to find a way to crack down on the perennial problem of predatory lending.
We all run current events through filters. Take the economy. When we heard of a recession on both coasts, we Texans barely raised an eyebrow. Our economy was robust and diverse. When the market crashed and the recession hit our state, we began paying attention.
God calls us and entrusts us with an awesome and enormous task. Namely, that we live our lives in such a way that our very lives answer any questions about where God is or what God is doing.
President Barack Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress stood light-years apart from President George Bush’s 2005 State of the Union address.
This past week, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced in a press release that income is running at seven percent below 2008 and at just 79 percent of its current budget. As a result, the organization is cutting internal spending by 20 percent, and reducing funding for partner organizations by 30 percent.
The symbolism was obvious: President Obama went to the rooftop—the roof of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado, with its solar panels for heat—before he signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package into law Tuesday.
Employment is a moral issue which involves issues of justice and fairness, according to a Baptist pastor and chaplain to the Christian Socialist Movement.
American seminaries and divinity schools across the theological spectrum are in financial trouble, according to news reports, open letters and blogs about budget cuts and staff layoffs.
We must remember and care for our fellow travelers on this beautiful planet and treat them not as competitors, but as if they were Jesus who said that he could be found among the little ones. Proclaiming with Jesus the year of Jubilee is our only hope for restoration.
On Dec. 12, congressmen and women gave themselves another raise. You read that right. A raise while all around them men and women are losing jobs, homes and no telling what else. The very days they spent shaming the CEOs, they knew that they were going to get a pay raise of $4,700.
Though we are definitely not living in the worst of times, we are certainly experiencing the toughest economy in recent years—a challenging time to keep your business afloat, a challenging time to maintain your job, a challenging time to make ends meet. But the worst of our times can bring out the best in us.
Use the downtime to improve your career. Each day, spend an hour doing one of these five things and you'll be ahead of the game when the ball drops.
In financially trying times it is even more difficult for individuals and organizations to do the right thing when it comes to providing adequately for their employees. These months before the first of the year are times to examine church budgets and to plan for the new year
As many individuals ponder their end-of-year giving, they are inundated with numerous cash-strapped charities making special requests. With the Salvation Army, Focus on the Family, various denominations and religious universities reporting budget deficits, there are plenty of places to give, but not all could be wise investments.
Several Baptist leaders have joined public discussions on how the economy will impact churches and religious organizations, and what lessons might be learned.
What we are witnessing from the Big Three--Ford, General Motors and Chrysler--is nothing more than deathbed conversions.
A deeper and prolonged financial crisis will likely result in a survival-of-the-fittest scenario among local and national faith organizations, which, in turn, will reshape the religious ethos for years to come.
World leaders have been urged to use the current financial crisis to push for a fundamental reform of the global economic system.
Among several belt-tightening measures, First Baptist Church of Dalton instituted a spending freeze, assuming that year-end stock gifts and other profit-sharing donations will come in below last year's metrics. The church's staff has been asked to carry out missions on a low-cost or no-cost basis, and to look for cost recovery everywhere they can.
The greed we see in CEOs across America -- who seemingly no longer make decisions about what is best for the company but, rather, what's best for their own purse -- is seen in all of us. Children. Adolescents. Adults. And there is no more greedy culture than our culture.
Rev. Mark Woods, editor of Britain's Baptist Times, examines economics across the pond and "the glorification of greed in popular culture."
Rather than allowing the market to "punish" those companies that have acted irresponsibly, could we be reinforcing bad behavior by propping up those companies financially?
More than prophetic critique and hollow promises of political change, perhaps what our culture really needs from church leaders is a word of hope—hope understood as the courage to wait.
I feel it in my bones. Now that the economists, the stock brokers and the bankers are losing fortunes and losing faith we are all paying attention. Not to the things we normally do in the most pleasant month of the year: baseball playoffs and political campaigns and weekend football. We are all paying attention to our shrinking resources.
As federal regulators and corporate executives nationwide pull all-nighters in efforts to reign in the snowballing financial crisis, pastors and fundraising professionals wonder what impact the crisis will have on their ability to do God's work.
The nation's financial crisis calls for a twofold response. One is pastoral; the other is moral.
What does one do when the stock market keeps diving, gas prices keep rising, and all that experts can agree upon is that nobody knows when or how this economic free fall will end? Many are consumed by rumor, worry, stress and fear. Lost jobs, income and savings are a gloomy reality. Some of us are more OK than others, but everybody is affected.
Rosh Hashanah is the season wherein Jews are supposed to have great resolve and great hope. There are too many negative forces that tell us that we cannot do it. There are too many excuses for not being the type of Jews and human beings that we really and truly ought to be.
Robert Parham of EthicsDaily.com has issued a clarion call for faith leaders in America to speak out on the economic crisis. I second his motion … with a few reservations and stipulations.
Lou Dobbs' rant about Treasury Secretary Paulson last Monday was way over the line. He did more than challenge Paulson's policies and proposals, he attacked him personally with some of the most condescending and insulting language I have heard from a host on CNN.
President Bush told an anxious and angry American public on Wednesday that the nation faced "a serious financial crisis." In a structurally sound speech devoid of poetry and short on hope, Bush said that "these are not normal circumstances," "the market is not functioning properly," "there's been a widespread loss of confidence," "major sectors of America's financial system are at risk of shutting down," "America could slip into a financial panic" and "our economy is facing a moment of great challenge."
There is an axis of incompetence that runs from New York to Washington, from Wall Street to the White House. All they know how to manage are elections.
There's been lots of bad news this past week. Hurricane Ike ran ashore over Galveston, Texas, and folks as far away as Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky felt its force. The collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was quickly followed by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the eventual bailout of American International Group (AIG). All the while, our country is tossed into turmoil of a different sort.
The CEOs of large American corporations made as much money in one day as the average worker earned over an entire year, according to an annual study timed for release around Labor Day.
The CEOs of large American corporations made as much money in one day as the average worker earned over an entire year, according to an annual study timed for release around Labor Day.
Like many Americans, my attention recently was on the Olympic Games. I heard a report that more workers were coming to work too tired to be productive, because they have been staying up late watching the events.
While living abroad for the past 14 years, international friends have sometimes fussed at me about America's seeming indifference to issues affecting the rest of the world. To them, Americans are too smug, especially with regard to our way of life. Apparently, our sense of entitlement to a high standard of living is annoying.
Last November, I posed the question in a blog, "If gas hits $4/gal, what will your church do?" We are beyond $4/gallon gas now, and the future looks different than we ever thought it would just a couple of years back. But, there are other crises which will affect churches in the next few years:
Despite a sinking (some might say stinking) economy, sales of lottery tickets are up in North Carolina. While listening to North Carolina Public Radio, I heard chief hustler Tom Shaheen credit the improved sales to the bigger prizes being offered.
"Sum tyms bitin, sum tyms bit."
Hospitals might be the only place where life is seen in its extremes. Happiness and sadness coexist in hospitals. Deaths and births happen simultaneously. Helena, Ark., is also a place where death and birth happen on nearly a daily basis. And while physical deaths and births happen here, I'm focusing more on the death and birth of dreams.
People sitting in church pews with knowledge about complicated social issues but who use it only to enrich themselves are a wasted resource for the Kingdom of God, a former tax lawyer turned fair-tax activist told a Baptist Center for Ethics audience last week.
The "Atlantic" magazine has a cover title of "Which Religion Will Win" with an artistic question mark designed out of a crescent moon intersecting with a crucifix atop a globe. One of the issue's major articles examines the competition between Christianity and Islam for adherents in Nigeria, "God's Country," Africa's most populous country.
An Alabama law professor who argues that fair taxation is a moral issue will present her case June 19 at a luncheon meeting sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics. The gathering is in conjunction with the 18th General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, scheduled June 19-20 in Memphis, Tenn.
Do a Google search for the words "Baptists" and "payday." You will be surprised by what you find and disappointed by what is missing. You will find abundant references to the Baptist preacher R. G. Lee, who preached over 1,200 times the same sermon--"Payday Someday." You will find little evidence that Baptists care enough about predatory lenders to take reformatory initiatives.
The predatory practice of payday lenders flourishes in the Bible Belt, the very place where one would think that the piety and morality of church goers would oppose such ventures that charge the poor exorbitant interest rates exceeding those of "the old mafia loan sharking syndicates." That is not the case, according to a new study that maps the correlation of payday lenders and conservative Christians.
The last remaining Arizona real estate assets from the defunct Baptist Foundation of Arizona go on the auction block today in a Phoenix hotel.
A faculty member at Baptist-related McAfee School of Theology appears in a new television ad critical of Wal-Mart.
Entering the busiest shopping season of the year, Wal-Mart is once again under fire, this time for a failing grade on homosexual rights.
When Jesus uses the word Mammon, he gives it a nearly demonic connotation--or at least a spiritual connotation distinct from simply "cash"--that sets it up as an alternative to God in a way that Caesar, for example, doesn't have to be.
Despite popular parlance, consumerism is not a problem of how much one consumes. No, it is a problem of why one consumes: that is, in a consumerist society like ours, we buy things to tell others, and ourselves, who we are.