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Jul 06, 2006

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Quotidian Grace

Preach it, brother Michael! There is a big anti-capitalist bias in our seminaries and many ministers carry it with them throughout their careers. I think one of the big problems is ignorance of basic economic and business principles.

Since most ministers spend a good part of their careers as solo pastors, essentially running a small business, I think seminaries should require an introductory course covering the basics of accounting, business organization and financial planning.

Michael Kruse

I was listening to a mp3 of speech given by Robert Sirico recently. He made the observation that pastors get their daily bread through a kind of morally obligatory wealth redistribtuion. Most people's income is directly linked to their ability to provide a good or service. (I would put professors in a similar category.) He suspects this skews how pastors think about economic issues and blinds them to the productive nature of wealth. I think there is some truth in this.

My next Theology and Economics posts are zeroing in on the havoc the Church's failure to understand economic issues is having on culture.

Dave Moody

As one of the, uh, aforementioned clerical class- I say AMEN to Michael's post, regarding wealth creation, and the underlying theological tenet of vocation as holy calling, plumber, physiscian, or pastor. We need more Calvinists, I say. But I'm always saying that...

But, I would caution you on such broad statements regarding the mindset of those of us who's cross is the collar. Not all would fall into the capitalist are evil camp. There are some of us who's expereince and education would lead us away from dependency upon the state to embrace a more biblical view of wealth creation and stewardship.

Thanks for continuing to post such provacative essays. Good on ya... and viva Italia!

Michael Kruse

Hi Dave. In my defense, I did write:

"Unfortunately, for MANY of the clerical class within our mainline traditions..."

Not all. There is a remnant. (He writes, sitting under a broom tree in the desert, praying for God to kill him. *grin*) I realize there are exceptions and my pastor is one of them. But the fact is that both my personal experience and survey results show again and again that the great majority of graduates from mainline seminaries are very suspicious of free enterprise if not openly hostile to it.

Even from the pastors that I have heard touch on this topic in a positive way, they usually emphasize the wealth that the business person generates that they can now give to charity or to the church, or what an opportunity they have for evangelism. I don't think I have ever heard one sermon that lifted up the unique role the entrepreneur plays in creatively amassing resources to create goods and services, and employ others who amass wealth, as a ministry “in and of itself.” Yet I repeatedly read and hear aspersions cast at these same people and with no visible protest from anyone in the ecclesiastical community, leaving the impression that they generally agree.

And we wonder why so many in business have such a materialistic mindset with no sense of how their work relates to the Kingdom other than by the money they can give away or “evangelistic tracts” they can hand out?

(Better stop here. Don’t won’t to give away too much of my upcoming theology and economics posts. *grin*)

will spotts

Mike - bravo.

You have become something of a consistant advocate for this viewpoint.

It is clearly a recovery of a Calvinist stance. Wonder how we got from there to here?

Michael Kruse

Thanks Will.

"Wonder how we got from there to here?"

I found myself asking that about much of Presbyterianism these days.

will spotts

lol. I guess the question does come up from time to time.

Have you had opportunity to review the globalization paper?

Michael Kruse

I haven't read it yet but I am looking forward to it.

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