Tag Archives: Faith and Inequality

Just a Little Bit More in Houston

I’ll be in Houston on Sunday, June 4 to  present themes from Just a Little Bit More, kicking off four Sundays of conversation on faith and inequality. Thanks to the folks at Chapelwood United Methodist Church for the invitation.  Chapelwood’s address is 11140 Greenbay Street on Houston’s west side. My presentation, starting at 11:00 a.m., is the first of four adult education sessions on Just a Little Bit More themes scheduled for the four Sundays in June. My good friend Kathy Haueisen and Noel Denison will lead the three remaining sessions.

Social and economic inequalities continue to command attention in American society, as they have for the last thirty-five years. How do people of faith respond to the ongoing challenges inequalities present? This general question brings us together for conversation that, hopefully, helps clarify our faithful response, individually and collectively, to some of the problems created by excessive inequalities.

Legend tells us that John Rockefeller, history’s first billionaire in the early twentieth century, when asked the question How much is enough? answered ingeniously and accurately described American culture: “Just a little bit more.” One hundred years later, Rockefeller’s legendary response still describes American culture spot-on and it serves as my starting point for the June 4th presentation.

We’ll also consider biblical passages and stories, including the parable of the rich fool from Luke 12 and Jesus’s intriguing statement to explain the parable of the sower (found in all three of the synoptic gospels): “For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (Matthew 13:12, NRSV). This statement seemingly endorses inequality. We’ll talk about it and more! Come and join the conversation!

 

This blog and website are representative of the views expressed in my book Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good. Distributed by ACTA Publications (Chicago), JaLBM is available on Amazon as a paperback and an e-book. It’s also available on Nook and iBook/iTunes, and at the website of Blue Ocotillo Publishing.

isbn 9780991532827

If you’re a member of a faith community – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or other – consider a book study series of Just a Little Bit More. The full-length book (257 pgs.) is intended for engaged readers, whereas the Summary Version and Study Guide (52 pgs.) is intended for readers desiring a quick overview of the work. It also contains discussion questions at the end of all eight chapter summaries.

Readers of both books can join together for study, conversation, and subsequent action in support of the common good.

The Spanish version of the Summary Version and Study Guide is now available. ¡Que bueno!

¡El librito de JaLBM – llamado Solo un Poco Más –está disponible en Amazon y el sitio web www.blueocotillo.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Faith and Inequality” Presentations

In a world of fluff (supermarket tabloids) and misplaced immaturity (presidential candidates commenting on the size of certain anatomical features of an opponent), it’s good to have other options of information gathering and personal interchange. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to converse with others on important social issues such as childhood poverty, the causes of inequality, and the pros and cons of economic growth. Building on these themes and others explored throughout Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good, I’ll be making presentations at points near and far in the next number of weeks. Enlightening and purposeful conversations will continue in support of common good construction.

“Faith and Inequality: Seeking Common Good and Kingdom Connections” will be presented in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas; Fairfax, Virginia; and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Thanks to the church-related groups that have extended invitations to present and to many who have joined in conversation via book study groups on JaLBM themes. The “Faith and Inequality” offering covers a diverse set of related topics – faith development, American social and economic histories, poverty, the pursuit of common good, among others – in seventy-five minutes (or so!) of presentation and discussion. Join us!

Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Texas  –  Wednesday, March 30, 7 pmJABLM Promo San Antonio V1

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fairfax, Virginia  –  Tuesday, April 5, 7 pm

Gettysburg Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania  –  Thursday, April 7, 7 pm

Faith Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, Texas  –  Wednesday, April 20, 7 pm

Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and many indigenous traditions agree: management of the natural human propensity toward greed is a main task of religious activity. Failure of a group or society to keep its appetite for greed in check contributes to its demise. Intriguingly, our various religious traditions formulated these ideas long before the proliferation of capital. While the Industrial Revolution has arguably been a great blessing to the human family, greed management is more crucial now than ever before. We live in an era that makes the case that more is always and exponentially better. I argue, to the contrary, that our traditions have a strong and united message against the spirit of more as always better.

While I’m grateful to Lutheran groups extending me (a Lutheran pastor) an invitation to speak, I’m more than ready to venture beyond. Other Christian denominations and other congregations within the broader faith community have plenty to contribute to this important conversation. The “Faith and Inequality” conversation is intended for all persons of faith, uniting various and diverse voices together in pursuit of common good in our midst.

For Christians, the possible connection between common good and what we understand as “kingdom of God” merits exploration. The Social Gospel movement at the turn of the 20th century – born during Gilded Age inequities – offers guidance. The 21st century needs to make its own response to social and economic inequalities. Join me and many others as we respond to significant inequalities social and economic with energy, smarts, and compassion.

 

Special thanks to the congregation I serve, St. John’s/San Juan Lutheran Church, Austin, TX for the opportunity to go to Washington, DC where I’ll participate in continuing education events. I’ve never been to the nation’s capital and am looking forward to networking with leaders in the movement for social and economic justice.

And thanks to my publicist extraordinaire daughter, Alexandra Anderson, for her work on the above promo image!

 

I’m planning to do similar “Faith and Inequality” presentations this fall in Austin and Houston – and open to invitations elsewhere!

 

This blog and website are representative of the views expressed in my book Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good. Distributed by ACTA Publications (Chicago), JaLBM is available on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook. It’s also available on Nook and iBooks/iTunes, and at the website of Blue Ocotillo Publishing.

isbn 9780991532827

If you’re a member of a faith community – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or other – consider a book study series of Just a Little Bit More. The full-length book (257 pgs.) is intended for engaged readers, whereas the Summary Version and Study Guide (52 pgs.) is intended for readers desiring a quick overview of the work. It also contains discussion questions at the end of all eight chapter summaries.

Readers of both books can join together for study, conversation, and subsequent action in support of the common good.

The Spanish version of the Summary Version and Study Guide will be available in September 2016. ¡Que Bueno!

¡El librito de JaLBM – llamado Solo un Poco Más saldrá este Septiembre de 2016!

 

 

 

 

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