This Coming Sunday’s Service

This Sunday, 10/15, features the first sermon in a four-week series “God’s Economy,” on stewardship. 
 
Dave Carpenter’s sermon is called “God’s Economy: What Makes for the Good Life?”
 
Below are his notes and questions for reflection, and his scriptures are: Micah 6:8 & Matthew 22:15-22.
 
There has always been a healthy tension and debate, in Christian circles between the compassion and simplicity, the generosity and sacrifice of the Gospel message and the too often evident greed, drivenness, and competition of a pure, unfettered Smithsonian capitalistic system. Most economists and theologians will agree that there is something inherent in the freedom of the capitalistic system that creates a favorable environment for Christianity to thrive but what is the right balance? In our pursuit of the American dream, have we blindly accepted the underlying premise of an entire way of life at odds with God’s vision for our lives and world? Do we often “switch the price tags”: giving our time, energy and attention to things that, in the end, don’t offer any real, lasting, deep down soul satisfaction while ignoring the things that could make life the most satisfying, content, passionate and joyful? And do we even spend much time trying to figure out the difference?
 
1) Do you think capitalism and Christianity are compatible or incompatible? In what ways yes? In what ways no? In what ways was Karl Marx right that capitalism is “the opiate of the masses?”
 
2) Do you often stress about money? How much time and energy do you put into thinking about it, worrying about it, figuring out how to have more of it? Trying to be realistic and balanced, how much of the joy in your life comes from the things you buy with money?
 
3) What do you believe is most important in life? What are the things that bring you the most, true, deep down joy, passion, meaning, contentment and satisfaction? Are those things capturing the majority of your time and energy? Why or why not?
 
4) What would it look like in your life to give God the things that belong to God and Caesar the things that belong to Caesar?