Sunday, June 05, 2011

Taking Lazarus to heart

My good friend, John Siburt sent me the link to this story from The Huffington Post.  What do you think?

What Would Jesus Spend His Money On?

First Posted: 05/25/11 09:10 PM ET Updated: 05/26/11 12:16 PM ET

BEVERLY, Mass. (RNS) No sooner had 29-year-old Graham Messier joined a small group at his church earlier this year than he found himself breaking an American taboo: talking about how much he earns, and where it all goes.

Others in the group did likewise as they kicked off an eight-week program aimed at reconciling personal finances with Christian rhetoric about economic justice.

It's countercultural, they said, but it works.

By the eighth meeting, Messier's group had raised $1,800 for three non-profits simply by cutting back on gourmet coffees, dining out and other non-essentials.

Talking about household budgets isn't "the most comfortable thing in the world," Messier said. "But talking as Christians about the reality of our money situations should be more of a focus than it is generally if we're going to be real about loving, giving to the poor and taking care of our fellow man."

Since inception in 2006, the Lazarus at the Gate curriculum has guided some 400 people in more than 30 groups to give away a total of $200,000. Using the biblical story of poor Lazarus seeking help at a rich man's gate, most participants learn that ordinary Americans rank among the world's richest 5 percent -- and that a few dollars go a lot farther in the developing world than they do at their local Starbucks.

What began as a Boston-based pilot has grown into an open-source curriculum. The ecumenical Boston Faith and Justice Network (BFJN) shares Lazarus materials upon request with college student groups and churches in other regions and countries.

Read the entire article here.

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