Your Blog Steward

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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-Election Blues

On my Facebook page I had as many of my friends "Like" Mitt Romney for President as I had "Like" Barack Obama for President of the United States. (Don't go too crazy, as my sample is small, and I only accept as FB friends those I've had actual conversations with, so the number is quite small.) But, as it turns out, this is pretty much the case everywhere. Our country, like my FB friends, has differences of opinion, especially when it comes to politics.

My guess is the major difference stems mostly from our incessant need to equate politics with economics. You see, I have FB friends who are rich, poor, very rich, very poor (although not poor enough that they don't have internet capabilities), I have friends who think they are poor although they are rich, I have friends who think they are rich although they are poor, I have friends who like to share their wealth, others for whom that is not a high priority. No matter how they think about their wealth or how they handle it, I "Like" them all, regardless of which Presidential candidate they like.

But I think we have gone a little too far in regarding every single issue from an economic perspective. I cannot tell you how many times I saw great ministry ideas ignored or dismissed because we "couldn't afford it." OF COURSE NOT! It's ministry, it's not a luxury item for the house. Truth be told, no ministry can be afforded, and if you ever have that conversation in a congregation about "affordable ministry" you can pretty well be sure you are talking to Satan. I know many good and honest people in congregations who are just trying to be "fiscally responsible," but when you're trying to end someone's poverty how fiscally responsible is that?

So whether politics (affordable health care? Really? Who are we trying to deceive here?) or ministry ("I'm just trying to be a good steward!"), we have subsumed so much of their potential under the crushing and debilitating conversation of its fiscal value. We're going to get nowhere in politics if we continue to believe that rich people are trying to take advantage of poor people, and poor people are trying to mooch off the rich. Same is true in ministry...your faith will never reach the nirvana to which you have been destined if you believe the journey is constricted by available funding.

Reportedly, Jesus of Nazareth once said, "You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6.24, see here for more information) From my experience in this past election, it might be his only words we should take literally. I understand no one wants to be poor. I understand poverty brings with it a whole host of social ills. But what if it is not the worse thing in the world? What if being poor is actually the point? Wir sind bettlar, hoc est verum are the words Martin Luther said at his death. We're beggars, this is true.

May your tables be full and your conversations be real.

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