Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Creating wealth

A collection is, of course, de riguer in any church service, and the Megafest Cohen attends is no exception. He observes that most of the people there are probably in no position to give the suggested $111 when the collection envelope goes around. They have all already paid an admission fee as well. There are also plenty of other things (T-shirts, etc.) for attendees to spend their money on. At the same time there are workshops going on to help people manage their money. The prosperity gospel is "the notion that God wants his followers to be rich." There are those nay-sayers though who spout that stuff about camels having an easier time going through the eye of a needle than a rich man getting into the kingdom of heaven. (I've heard the counter argument to this is that the Bible never mentions how big a camel or needle we're talking about.)

When I was in Brazil I met an American who studied evalgelicals in the Amazon. It is a fast growing religious movement there. Although there are more people in Brazil who claim to be Catholic, on any given Sunday morning there will be more people attending evangelical services than Catholic ones. The scholar explained to us that one of the reasons so many people were converting was because they were told they would become more prosperous if they did. And then discovered that that was indeed true. When one stops spending his paycheck on alcohol and gambling he finds that he can afford things like a nicer home and a refrigerator.

For a fabulous, award-winning sermon on Jesus and economic sharing, I recommend Saving Souls by my friend, and UU minister, Joanne Giannino.

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