Culture At Large

Sacrifice and the federal budget

Karl Westerhof

Amidst the turmoil about the national debt, the budget and the political process to address the situation, Christians and Christian organizations are weighing in too - probably more than usual.

I have Jesus-following friends who disagree - strongly - about what the budget should look like. I have conflicting convictions within myself. And I’m struck that the word “sacrifice” is turning up so often. Sacrifice is a religious word! Maybe that’s why two Christian organizations - the Center for Public Justice and Evangelicals for Social Action - have issued a Call for Intergenerational Justice that addresses the ongoing budget deficit.

Again, not all Christians agree. This joint Call has already received criticism from places such as the Acton Institute and First Things.

What, amidst all of this, can your church do?

The national budget moment has powerful stewardship dimensions. Surely it’s a worthy goal to learn as much as possible about the issues and to the best of our ability help conversations stay rational, calm and helpful. I wonder about convening some evening coffee conversations where members of the congregation can discuss together, learn together, hone each other’s understanding and maybe go home grateful for faithful friends who care as much as we do about how to be Kingdom citizens. There are certainly a lot of discipleship issues to be discussed when we are making budgets.

But how is this a personal matter?

Well, I’m wondering… Does this national conversation have echoes in our churches? In our families? Are there implications for how we make our budgets? Is there an opportunity here for some fresh conversation about family spending patterns? Can we talk about the choices we make with our money and the expectations we have for the money we spend on charity?

In short, how are we shaping our family lives and our congregational lives in ways that address need in truly Christ-like ways?

Topics: Culture At Large, Business & Economics, Economics, Theology & The Church, Faith, News & Politics, Justice, North America