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Nuts and Bolts of Christian Giving

Editor’s Note: So, I had to give a short introduction to this article. At a poverty advocacy meeting, this older gentleman over-heard me talking about TwoCents.co and said he would love to contribute. He doesn’t even own a computer, so he wrote out this article on paper and my wife typed it out. With that understanding, enjoy! —– FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11-1) Paul Tillich describes faith as your ultimate concern. God’s plan for our finances is clearly disclosed in the many references the Bible has to money. II Corinthians 8 and 9 are very specific: “It is better to sow generously and reap generously.” Living in the “tyranny of the moment”, makes it difficult to determine ultimate concern. Living in abundance makes it difficult to determine ultimate concern because it is easy to allow the possession of money to control your life. Rich or poor we have similar challenge: How to discern God’s will for us and do it. Rich or poor, it is clear that Christians living outside of God’s economic shelter will suffer greatly and need less. Can you think of someone who is poor and you know it doesn’t have to be the way for them? Can you think of someone who...

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TwoCents.co is Back! Please Join the Conversation.

For our loyal readers, you may have noticed a dip in our posts as of late. We apologize, but this down time was for a big renovation. TwoCents.co has a new look for desktop and mobile to make it easier to read and share on social media. For those of you new to TwoCents.co, we are a site dedicated to conversations about Faith and Money. We want to examine how we put our beliefs to action when it comes to economic equality, social justice, charity, and generosity. Also, we wanted to do a better job of putting our authors out in front. Now, every article has an author box where you can learn more about our authors and connect with them on social media. Moving forward, you will see regular posting continue. In the meantime, please take this opportunity to sign up for email newsletter using the form below, or visit the Write for Us page and submit your article about Faith and Money! Subscribe to TwoCents.co * indicates required Email Address * First Name Last...

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Wealth, Pleasure, and Worry

It is not an uncommon theological discussion in American churches: is it money itself, or rather the love of money, which is the root of all evil? It is all the stuff he has, in and off itself, or is it the love of his stuff, that makes the rich young ruler turn away from Jesus? It is hard for us, in our current cultural climate, to question the idea of wealth as anything but an unqualified good. However, Joshua Becker over at Don Miller’s Storylineblog examines the Parable of the Sower and points out that Jesus’ parable does just that: it seems to suggest that wealth itself can be an obstacle, a thorn, in the life of a believer. His thoughts and their counter-cultural import are worth serious reflection, and the discussion below his post debates some of the nuances in the various New Testament treatments of wealth. It’s especially worthwhile  discussion for those of us who, having heard the gospel story so many times before, might need to hear Jesus’ words again for the first...

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Why the Rich don’t know they’re Rich

[a guest post by Yaholo H] I live in Hamilton County in Indiana. If you are not familiar with it, it is kind of the Dubai of the Midwest. Our churches look like a combination of Hogwarts and a Frank Lloyd Wright concert hall. (I will stop for a minute so you can Google all that…. Ready? Ok.) You can’t throw a rock without hitting a conservative evangelical. (BTW, don’t throw rocks at conservative evangelicals.) Yet, with all this wealth and religion, our central city, Indianapolis, struggles with poverty and is one of the largest food deserts in the country  Those who work to overcome poverty, or raise awareness of social issues, often find themselves wondering, “Why is this so hard?” Are rich people just bad? Do they hate the poor? In areas like mine, it can be infuriating to see all the need with so much wealth just on the other side of the road. But here is the shocking part, the wealthy in my community don’t even know they are wealthy.  Say What?!? – The Miserable Wealthy  You heard me. In these huge castle churches with parking lots packed full of SUVs, most people are just worried about losing what they have. The men’s prayer groups really highlight this (I am not being sexist, I am just...

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socialent

5 insights from social entrepeneurs on how business can lift people

 As one participant put it, “wouldn’t it be great if ‘billionaire’ was re-defined to mean someone who had improved 1 billion lives?”     Thus ends this insightful article by Mark Cheng, titled, ‘5 Insights from Social Entrepeneurs on how Business can life People out of Poverty’ which seeks to answer the question:  How do you profitably sell to a customer who earns less than $2 per day? It begins with realising the enormity of the group of people who are living on such limited resources and then moves on to suggest that reaching these people has to do with both immense potential as well as a kind of moral obligation. Ashoka’s Globalizer initiative, in partnership with the eBay Foundation convened 20 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in Chennai, India, for three days in early March. The Ashoka Globalizer on Economic Inclusion provided a robust forum for sharing and improving their strategies to scale their impact. A list of some of the strategies that these groups are using to have a deep and transformative impact [and really go and read the whole article to dig a little deeper into each one] follows: [1] Recruit and Empower Local Changemakers [2] Build a Movement, not just Marketshare [3] Embrace Competition [4] Motivate with Mission, not Money [5] Maximise Distribution, not profits...

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They’ll probably just waste it, or use it on drugs…

  A constant concern I seem to hear about charitable giving is about what poor people will do with economic assistance once they receive it. Won’t poor people just waste the money or benefits? Won’t they use it to buy unworthy items like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs? A second line of criticism has more to do with self-sufficiency. Won’t receiving economic assistance just make people dependent? Won’t it show people that they don’t really need to have a job, or to strive to be self-sufficient? An organization called GiveDirectly (and others like it) have challenged these assumptions recently by giving what are called “unconditional cash transfers” to individuals living in poverty. Basically, they locate impoverished people and communities overseas in need of assistance, and then they give individuals large amounts of money with no strings attached; the recipient can use the money however they want, for whatever reason they see fit. This approach has received lots of criticism, for all the listed reasons above. Surely the recipients, not having to answer to anyone about their spending choices, will squander the money in all sorts of different ways! However, in October, researchers at the Poverty Action Lab at MIT published their findings on the effects and outcomes of unconditional cash transfers. Surprisingly, their findings suggest that very little of the money was...

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