Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

The Challenge of Recession

Every foreclosure is a challenge to faith. Every eviction evokes the travails of Job. Beyond the financial sector it is hard to think of a field more multiply impacted by fiscal disaster than religion. First there is the pastoral aspect: the need for counseling help is outstripping the available pastors. Then there is the demand on charity: Washington D.C.'s Roman Catholic Archdiocese reported that in several parishes requests for help with food, rent and utilities have tripled. And these burdens coincide with an inevitable diminution of contributions in the offering plates. As with other aspects of the economic downturn, the recession religion "story" on this is just beginning: but how congregations, denominations and faith groups respond may define them for decades.