The Church’s Last Taboo

We’ll talk about race and we’ll talk about sex,
Execution, abortion, divorce
Share power with women, admit open gays,
Make political choices, of course
We’re toppling taboos; we’re changing our ways
The choices we make, though, are funny—
The issue that none of us dare speak its name…
The final taboo… why, it’s money

Goodies, after the jump:

I don’t know how I missed this back when it came out at the beginning of the month: Preachers are reluctant to confront their “last taboo”, and condemn greed at a time when so many of us are in trouble.

Though millions of Americans are angry over the economy, little moral outrage seems to be coming from the nation’s pulpit, they say. Too many pastors opt for offering pulpit platitudes because they are afraid parishioners will stop giving money if they hear teachings against greed, said the Rev. Robin R. Meyers, senior minister of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

“Money is the last taboo in church. It’s much easier to talk about sex than money,” said Meyers, who wrote about greed and the other seven deadly sins in his book, “The Virtue in the Vice.”

If only the bible had mentioned anything about money. Something about camels and rich men, or the love of money being the root of all evil. But, alas, the bible just wants people to be rich.

Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of one of the nation’s largest churches, the 40,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His 90-minute services are broadcast nationwide each Sunday, and he’s just come out with a book, “Every Day a Friday,” which encourages people to have a “prosperous, victorious year” and be “dream releasers” by helping others realize their goals.

Osteen said some of his church members have been hit hard by the recession, but he prefers to preach about the cures, not the causes, for the nation’s economic ills.

Part of his message: Live within your means, don’t give away your power, live without crutches and travel light.

“We go through difficult times, and it’s easy to get trapped in the past thinking about what didn’t work out,” he said. “At some point, we gotta move forward. I’m not supposed to just endure my life. I’m supposed to enjoy it.”

Back in Maryland, Jackson said he tells his congregation that the nation’s economic problems are partly God’s way of encouraging the nation to return to a “biblical faith.”

He said there will be a “supernatural economic recovery” if Americans practice generosity.

So, good times are proof god loves us, and bad times are god’s way of encouraging us to return to him. Tough love. I wonder just what sort of economy means that god doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist. I suspect it would look a lot like the real world.

(BTW, I did cherry-pick the hell out of that article. There are some good people saying good things from the pulpit. I’ve known some of them in real life. I also went to a church, for a while, that was located in a [former] bank. There were people who drove to church in a Rolls. We never heard a sermon about the evils of greed. We did hear the occasional sermon on the importance of tithing.)


  1. Gregory says

    Christian clergy across the spectrum have preached the “prosperity gospel” — be devout and God will reward you with mansions, cars and rhinoplasty for your kids — that the doctrine of “poverty is caused by sin and depravity” is very difficult to backtrack from.

  2. Rhoda says

    My most favorite bumper sticker, seen on two separate occasions on a luxury car:

    “Don’t let the car fool you, my treasure is in heaven”

    I keep telling myself it’s a Poe, but these days who can be sure?

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