Archives for December 2013

A Christmas message

A few days ago, an airline pilot who had received a Christmas card from a passenger posted the enclosed note to the image-sharing social media site Imgur. [Read more…]

Work and the American Character

Over the Labor Day 2013 weekend, columnist Peggy Noonan wrote about “Work and the American Character.” Her column points to the critical connection between the spiritual value of work and the moral strength of our culture. Unfortunately, in her search for a beacon of hope that can point us back toward the dignity of work, she neglects the church in favor of less promising possibilities. [Read more…]

The contested American Dream

For many affluent and educated Americans, including some Christians, the American Dream is a materialistic desire for not only a job, a family, and a house with a white picket fence, but also a beach house, two SUVS, exotic vacations, big-screen TVs, the latest fashions, $5 lattes, etc. It is easy to see why other Christians oppose this perversion of the American Dream, which simply promotes the acquisition of treasures on earth, and of social privilege, solely for self-glorification. But many of those who still long for the best of the American Dream are the marginal, the poor, the working class – those for whom education, steady work, and home ownership are life-long goals. [Read more…]

Not a “prosperity gospel”

Churches should not only empower people to do their work well, but should help them to have a broader vision of economic flourishing and how communities can achieve it. As I talk to pastors and seminaries about this idea on behalf of The Kern Family Foundation, I am often asked how this is different from the so-called “prosperity gospel.” [Read more…]

The end of urban ministry

Although it is often equated with neighborhood improvement, in reality gentrification is a process of class transformation: it is the remaking of working-class space to serve the needs of middle- and upper-class people. [Read more…]

Why does the clergy tax exemption matter?

Aside from the question of constitutionality, the clergy exemption raises a question that many people — whether religious or not — are likely to be wondering: Why exactly do ministers receive a tax exemption for their housing allowance? [Read more…]