Adventures in Generosity

The occasionally coherent ramblings of a Stewardship Advisor in the Church of England

Archive for recession

Entering the debate.

I was asked two questions this week at PCC’s that stuck out for me:

The first; “but there’s only a few of us, even if we give much more we can’t keep this place going – what we really need is bums on seats – so how do we get that ?”

The second; “how can we possibly talk about giving money away in a recession ?”

The two might not seem all that closely related, but actually I think they might be – and I think, watching current developments in and around St Paul’s Cathedral this week – it’s time we put two and two together.

You see, I think that now is the perfect time to be talking about giving.  The current recession/depression/economic meltdown – whatever you call it, is final, concrete, proof of what happens when we place our faith in the material.  Easy credit, pensions, life savings, stuff – it promises so very very much security – and can deliver none of it.  So, isn’t now the time to declare our independence – to put money back in it’s place and say – thanks, but no thanks.  And a good place to start is by taking some of that cold, unfeeling cash – and giving it away – to those who need it more than we do.

This week, with the eyes of the worlds media focused upon it, the Church establishment had an opportunity to widen the debate and offer another possibility.  That we might have got it horribly wrong.  That the answer is neither anti-capitalism, anarchy, free sandals for all (as the protesters might have it) nor is it more quantitative easing, austerity measures and the IMF as the politicians want us to believe, nor is it more capitalism, freedom from regulation and bigger better hedge funds, as the City claims – the answer is, in fact, in where we place our trust – in the fickle hands of Mammon or in the loving embrace of God ?

Perhaps, if we were less timid, and less willing to hang on to our own establishment credentials, we might actually have something positive to bring to this debate – and perhaps then we might see a few more bums on seats; not in our churches, but in the Kingdom we so badly need to bring to our world.

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Lies, damn lies and ….

Statistics.
I’ve started following @YouGov (the poll people) on Twitter. So far today I have learned two things:

First; 20% of consumers aspire to own something made by Prada – they do not specify what, which I think tells you all you need to know about ‘designer’ culture.

Second;10% of us can no longer afford to buy organic.

The poll appears to be silent on the percentage of people who couldn’t afford to buy organic in the first instance and does not elucidate on how many of these ‘organic’ consumers have instead switched to buying the seed and growing organic instead.

I’ve also learned that more women than men have bought a smartphone in the last 6 months – pressumably as consolation for not being able to afford the Prada.

These statistics are of course meaningless in isolation, but the fact that such questions are being posed during what the papers now call

‘THE WORST FINANCIAL CRISIS IN GLOBAL HISTORY EVER AND THAT INCLUDES THE GREAT DEPRESSION’

suggests to me that poverty is a somewhat relative term and that I should listen far less when people tell me that the reason giving is down is because everyone is broke.