Preachers and the Great Recession: What to say?

Okay, pulpit-ascenders and sermon-attenders: Read the following and tell me if it’s anything like your experience:

Three years after an implosion of the nation’s financial system helped push the country into its worst economic nosedive since the Great Depression, pastors are still trying to figure out how to address people’s fears from the pulpit.

But first they have to deal with their own fears, some pastors and scholars say.

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 …

… like, say, The Rich Man and Lazarus.

CNN BeliefBlog writer John Blake visits with some preachers, including the outspoken Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, whose current sermon series “Recovery Road” is said to point to everyone as sharing blame for our current woes. Rev. Robin R. Meyers, senior minister of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, has, however, proffered something a little more, err, pointed in his homilies.

“It’s good to pull people out of the river when they’re drowning, … but it’s also good to go upriver to see who’s throwing them in the river.”

In the epilogue to his book The Virtue in the Vice: Finding Seven Lively Virtues in the Seven Deadly Sins, Meyers writes:

None of us can ignore the basic human condition, or pretend that we have been granted some special exemption from it. We are born selfish, and our entire journey is spent thinking mostly of ourselves…. [W]e live mostly at the center of our own universe. Left unchecked and untreated, selfishness is the real mother and father of all human sin.

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