Saturday, December 06, 2008

mission as financial in a global credit crunch

A number of conversations around Opawa at the moment in terms of what being missional church will mean in a global credit crunch. Christianity is partly responsible, since our celebration of Christmas, was a bit of a kick start to the whole Christmas thing. Last year, as the tills rung on Boxing Day, I began to wonder if it was actually time for Christians to boycott Christmas. What would happen to the Boxing Day debt train if every church said they were not celebrating Jesus on December 25. Instead a random number generator could be used to ensure a random Christmas Day. This year the stakes are higher. What shape might “mission-as-financial” take?

Napier Baptist are talking about a community garden. Here’s a UK Anglican response, including suggesting church run seminars.

This looks a great web resource. Funk graphics and some very practical resources, including a downloadable Christmas budget plan.

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What sort of things is your church talking about?

Posted by steve at 01:26 PM


  1. check out: “”

    25 days to inspire the world!

    Comment by ricky — December 6, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  2. ricky,

    Ta for dropping by and for the link. Do you know is giftrevolution is a specific response to the global credit crunch, or a more general Adventish/Christmas type thing?


    Comment by steve — December 7, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  3. I think you also need to be careful not to lump big debt spending such as houses with all retail. Sometimes it feels as if buying some Christmas gifts is a sin, some sort of shallow, materialistic $ irresponisble thing to do – yet we do need to remember that there are many families whose livelihood depends on retail businesses surviving. If everyone boycotted Christmas presents we would only see more job losses and all the negative flow on stresses of unemployment on families. I do agree however that we need to encourage spending within budget. Initiatives such as a community garden are great, but these things should already be in places with churches, considering helping the poor has always been a part of their brief – only difference is now there are more potential poor – so perhaps existing schemes therefore need modifying. Oh, and I suspect that if every church celebrated Christmas on a different random day, the rest of the secular world would take little notice and continue with the Dec 25 thing.

    Comment by Jack — December 7, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

  4. you have been given an award on my blog

    Comment by jason — December 7, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  5. Hi Jack,

    I am concerned not about big debt spending, but about retail spending in general. About 40% of Christmas shoppers last year in UK paid for their shopping on credit. 24% will still be paying it off this Christmas. Something a bit dysfunctional about that.


    Comment by steve — December 8, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  6. I agree and there are issues that need to be addressed regarding what pressures drive people to do that and more importantly some rules regarding responsible lending…although I suspect lending institutions will have learnt from their errors and legislation may not be needed. My concern was that the 60 % who can afford to buy their friends and family a gift at Christmas may choose not to if churches discourage gift buying per se. Last night on tele – on ‘Sunday’there was a piece about the suffering of those who have just lost jobs and those bosses whose lifelong businesses have recently gone under – and it mentioned how many businesses are relying on Christmas retail to stay afloat and will make redundancy decisions early next year – based on how Christmas trade goes.

    Comment by Jack — December 8, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  7. Hi Jack & Steve. Jack raises an interesting point. It’s one I often think about with respect to the developing world. I could fight my consumerism and refuse to buy products made in the developing world based on the hunch that those who make them are probably being exploited.

    I could then take the money I save by doing that and give it to a charity working there. But what does that achieve? Doesn’t it just reinforce the cycle of subsidising the poor rather than making tangible benefits and rewarding entrepreneurials? Same thing with buying from Trade Aid or similar – is it a real solution?

    Same thing with boycotting Xmas – it won’t really hurt The Warehouse or it’s champions – but it sure will hurt the ma and pa store… perhaps focussing our purchases would be more helpful?

    Buy local produce from the hard up local growers (ripped off by supermarket buyers etc) and take that to those in need? Buy gifts for strangers and outcasts rather than those nearest to us – and then witness by telling them we’ve done it

    Comment by Randall — December 8, 2008 @ 4:46 pm

  8. So can I clarify the logic:
    I (and others) need to spend this Christmas in order to keep companies in business and people from being made redundant?


    Comment by steve — December 8, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  9. Yep – that would be a good thing to do – provided it is within your means, ie you don’t go overboard and you do it without going into debt. Is Christmas all about giving or not (not a sarcastic question – a serious one) You would give someone the presents you brought, you would give a business owner the chance of not going bankrupt and you would give folk an increased chance of staying employed. When Christians help with overseas aid they can see the sense in helping businesses. By early next year you may realise you’ve sacrificed what could’ve been a healthy personal savings account…but hey sacrifice is for Easter right 😉

    Comment by Jack — December 8, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  10. Plus, last time I checked, giving is good.

    Comment by Sharyn — December 11, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

  11. even when 24% of people who brought christmas presents last Christmas are still paying them off?


    Comment by steve — December 12, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

  12. No – not when going into debt to do so because then it ceases to be life giving as the end result is stress and suffering for families.
    I still have the question as to whether Christmas is meant to be all about giving – from a Christian perspective. What should it be all about? I would have thought ‘hope’. Does the ‘giving’ emphasis come from God ‘gave’ his Son or from the gifts the wisemen brought or neither?

    Comment by Jack — December 13, 2008 @ 8:56 am

  13. Yes, giving is still good, even if our society is dysfunctional in this area. The solution is not to stop giving, but to stop overspending. Being generous is good. Being bad with money is not. Speaking as someone who is bad with money.

    Comment by Sharyn — December 13, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

  14. Sharyn,
    I don’t think I was saying stop spending. Instead I was suggesting a variety of creative ways to stop overspending, and to decouple the church’s collusion with societal dysfunction.

    Christmas for me is about a window onto God – baby, vulnerable, with us. I think the gift giving is one chord in the human response


    Comment by steve — December 16, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  15. Well, actually you were asking if giving was good “even when 24% of people who brought christmas presents last Christmas are still paying them off?”

    And I was saying, yes.

    Comment by Sharyn — December 17, 2008 @ 10:37 am

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