Poverty/Income Inequality

Editor’s Introduction – The Ethics of Personal Finance

[1] We are now nearly four years into what has been termed variously the “Great Recession” and the “Lesser Depression.” Unemployment remains at its highest levels since the early 1980s, home foreclosures and short sales have become de rigueur in the housing market, and college students around the country are holding their collective breath as […]

Challenges Facing Bishops in light of Clergy Debt

[1] An ELCA bishop recently asked a key synod leadership group: “How can we cultivate a culture of hopeful leaders?” What a great question! I asked him how the conversation went, and he said, “They had a hard time with it. We need to take it up again.” Challenges Facing Bishops in light of Clergy […]

Seminarian Debt: Ethical Challenges

[1] The amount of financial aid that students need and the amount of debt they acquire to earn their college and seminary degrees has dramatically changed in the past decade. In response to an educational debt crisis nationally, there have been major changes to the Federal Loan program. Students legally have access to borrow more, […]

American Lutheran pastors and their Finances

[1] In America, Lutheran pastors have often had to struggle with their personal finances, so the current issues facing clergy in the ELCA are not new. These issues have ebbed and flowed over time, however, and the nature of these financial challenges has changed, as the financial health of the church, and of the nation, […]

Carpe Tithem: Tithing as Invigorative in the Life of Faith

[1] Years ago I worked with a young pastor who had been a fervent tither ever since the first day of her wage-earning life. Her practice continued for a couple of years until one day her mother gently confronted her with this request: “Sweetheart, I need you to stop tithing because I’m retiring soon and […]

Faith and Finance: A solo journey into solidarity

[1] Growing up the daughter of a banker and an actuary, who are also very faith-filled persons, my relationship with money has always been positive. Be practical, save as much as you can, and share with others, were lessons taught through action in my home. That foundation has surely led me to my beliefs today. […]

Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion

[1] Famously, Jesus said, “You will always have the poor with you.” Well, not if economist Paul Collier has his way. In The Bottom Billion Collier makes the case that a research-based, carefully applied set of instruments targeting specific traps that keep the global poor in poverty could actually work to eliminate poverty as we […]

Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty

[1] U2 singer Bono has become well-known in recent years for his tireless work to raise awareness of poverty through the “Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa” campaign. Fewer people are aware of the role economist Jeffrey D. Sachs has played in providing the economic grounds for Bono’s work. In his book The End of Poverty, for […]

Editor’s Comments – Voluntary Poverty in the Economy of the Spirit

Christ was born in poverty in the stable at Bethlehem, and He died in extreme poverty, nailed naked to the Cross.1 – Karl Barth [1] Leslie Hoppe concludes his recent, comprehensive study of the texts dealing with the poor and poverty in Scripture and the Rabbinic tradition with advice on how Christians should respond today.2 […]

Addressing Hunger and Poverty Today

[1] One billion human beings are hungry today. One billion people do not have enough to eat. The number alone is staggering. But what makes it scandalous is the fact that God’s abundant creation — the fertile earth and seas — can produce adequate nutrition for all. Scarcity is not the problem. The problems (and […]