Serving Communal Meals
240,000 Americans lost their jobs in October 2008. Unemployment is now at 6.5%. There are numerous ideas floating around but most of them do not make any economic sense. I have noted that the only solution that will work when the economy has a debt crisis is the forgiveness of debt. Another stimulus package merely creates more debt. Hopefully the politicians are studying the solutions that have worked in prior debt crises. However I am more interested in what the response of the church will be and whether or not the response will be theologically motivated.
Rodney Stark in The Rise of Christianity discussed the impact of Christian theology on the growth of the church. The
Finger quoted Stark: “It was not simply the promise of salvation that motivated Christians, but the fact they were greatly rewarded here and now for belonging. Thus while membership was expensive, it was, in fact a bargain. That is, because the church asked much of its members, it was thereby possessed of resources to give much. For example, because Christians were expected to aid the less fortunate, many of them received such aid, and all could feel greater security against bad times.... Because they were asked to love others, they were in turn loved.... In similar fashion, Christianity greatly mitigated relations among social classes --- at the very time the gap between the rich and poor was growing.”
Finger has thoroughly examined the
Restoring the practices discussed in detail by Finger and Stark is something the church ought to consider. The church that implements such a radical act of love deserves to be called a community of love.