Friday, November 18, 2016

How decidedly Middle Class of you. . .

The Lutherans are spread over middle and upper middle class with Missouri leaning decidedly middle class -- or at least so says a Pew Research study.  It probably comes as no surprise that Jews and Episcopalians are on the top, perhaps a mild surprise that Presbyterians are there.  It comes as a shock to no one that Roman Catholics are dead in the middle, perhaps the most of all reflective of the American average.  What may be new is that the "nothings in particular" are right next to Roman Catholics.  As Gene Veith noted, those most susceptible to the prosperity gospel tend to the lower income regions of the graph.

That said, the graph is a solid reminder that while we are not among the richest of religious groups, God has well supplied us with all the resources needed to do His work locally, nationally, and globally.

We all too often lament what we do not have.  I recall a woman in my first parish who insisted that what our small congregation needed was more millionaires -- this is the same Italian wife married to a German husband who would say that Germans had deep pockets but short arms.  In my retort I would say that God had already given us all the resources we needed.  It was an allocation problem and not a resource issue.

After listening to various groups in the church and at large throughout the church complain about the financial situation they faced, I am well reminded again that it is not a resource issue but a problem of allocation.  That is always what stewardship is and what teaching vocation is all about.  About some things it may well be as the Lord has said -- you do not have because you do not ask -- but about money it is often a problem of not having because faith has not affected the allocation process of the various and manifold resources God has so richly supplied.

My point is that God has given us more than enough.  If faith hits the wallet, then the church will have enough as well.  If faith does not hit the wallet, then it does not matter how much God gives, it will not be enough.


Recovering Lutheran said...

I know that it was not the point of your post, but I found it interesting that the far left Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have a larger percentage of the wealthy ($100,000+) than the US adult population at large. For all of their boasting about diversity, and sermons about the evils of capitalism, both denominations still seem to have an abundance of rich white liberals.

I agree with you that God has given us more than enough. After all, Jesus did pretty well with a few loaves of bread and some fish! At the same time I greatly fear the damage that too much wealth can cause. The ELCA and the ECUSA have squandered the great riches they have been given with radical politics, and their false teachings have placed their members at risk of eternal damnation. "Poor but honest" might have kept them from their present predicament of trying to make a god in their own image.

Can wealth sometimes be a form of judgement from God? Honestly, I cannot discount the possibility after seeing what has happened to the ECUSA and the ELCA.

Pastor Peters said...

Can wealth sometimes be a form of judgement from God?

This is prophetic and a truth we so often fear to admit!