A prayer of Freedom

As we question, wrestle with, debate, reflect on and seek to grow in the ways our faith and resources work together, it can be helpful to pause and offer up a meditation that reminds us of our purpose and intention and calls on God’s help as we navigate these waters. Mark and Lisa Scandrette, in Free: Spending your Time and Money on What Matters Most, offer this daily reflection to us: Which line of the prayer do you most resonate with? Are there any lines you struggle to say with honesty? Which parts do you offer as statements of action, which as statements of belief and which as statements of intention? I know that I am cared for by an abundant Provider. I choose to be grateful and trusting I believe I have enough and that what I need will always be provided. I choose to be content and generous. I know that my choices matter for myself, for others and for future generations. Help me to live consciously and creatively, celebrating signs of your new creation that is present and coming. Creator, who made me to seek the greater good of Your kingdom, Guide me to use my time, talents and resources to pursue what matters most. Teach me to be free, to live without worry, fear or...

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The Commodification of Christianity

We’ve all seen them. The christian marketplace is literally saturated with religious products – from the crass to the kitsch to the corny. These Christian trinkets are concerning not only for the cultural messages they portray but for the erroneous theological points they make. Or, as Matt Capps – in Kitsch, Trinkets, and the Commodification of Evangelical Christianity – puts it, “the commodification of the Christian message not only exploits the faith to consumer capitalism, but it also sentimentalizes and trivializes the gospel.” What is this industry currently worth? The numbers are hard to find and very outdated. CBA, the Association for Christian Retail, reported that in 2006 the Christian Retail Industry stood at $4.63 billion. 30% of that was related to books. Leaving a cool $3.2 billion that was spent on must-have items like these (and yes, that’s a bobble-head Buddy Jesus): When I think of it, I can’t decide which offends me more: “In God we Trust” on a $1 bill created by the Federal Reserve, or Jesus’ face on a novelty bill created, and sold, by Christian industry. We don’t need more christian stuff; we need more Christ-following. We don’t need this written on our things; ” It should come out of our own mouths. It should be written all over our lives!”...

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A Pontiff for the Poor? Is There Any Other Kind?

In his short tenure, Pope Francis has redefined and breathed life into the papal office. As a result, a office that many saw as dead and irrelevant; is now brimming with life. While we at Two Cents applaud much of what he has done, we are especially interested in how he views the intersection of faith and economics.  In a recent article entitled The Economic Vision of Pope Francis, a Pontiff for the Poor author Michael Sean Winters articulates much of what Pope Francis believes about this intersection. Check out the article and tell us what you...

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The Amish and Economic Innovation

Recently, NPR’s Planet Money did an episode on the economic life of the Amish. They examined how, in attempting to stay true to their principles, the Amish community has responded to the world of business with a combination of technological innovation – adapting technology to serve their specific needs – and by working in niche markets in which they excel. It’s a fascinating case study of how a community can adapt to the modern world while staying true to the convictions that define them; it’s well worth a listen. What can we learn from this case study about finding imaginative and innovative ways to stay true to our own principles in the modern...

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On the intersection between faith and economics – by Waldo Malan

A good friend of mine recently wanted to know if I had any peculiar thoughts on the intersection between faith and economics. At first I thought… what rubbish… and then I thought-ed some more. Not rubbish at all but a Godly principle. Yes, I discovered (while pondering) that I actually do believe there is an intersection between the two, and in fact, an intersection that was put in place by God himself. Allow me to explain through a connect-the-dots picture, since these I really love. Firstly I think that it is important for us to distinguish between two different economies at work in our world today. There are economics that is the result of a relationship with God, and then there are economics as a financial system invented by man. The interesting thing about this, and the reason we often flounder in ambiguities, is that both these systems are at work all the time, no matter which one we subscribe to! God’s economy is simple: 1) everything belongs to God 2) everything that belongs to God he has given to man 3) God requires man to believe (intrinsically and inherently) that He is good, and all He created is good 4) God smiles broadly and is pleased when we believe Him and operate according to the guidelines that He...

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