Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Gospel of Prosperity, Stewardship, and Dave Ramsey

The budget talks continue on incessantly as it seems more and more political each day. Along those lines, someone recently sent me a Dave Ramsey discussion about how to recover the economy.

I have a brother who would probably rate his allegiances as follows:
Dave Ramsey

I've listened to Dave Ramsey, and we actually use his stuff with our kids at Ritter (he has a program geared towards teenagers). I've been impressed with what I've seen.

A book I read recently on leadership talked about how real leaders aren't in it for the money (in terms of trying to maximize dollars pulled in) and when I've listened to Dave Ramsey talk about finances, I get the impression that he is more along the lines of just wanting to help people. Sure he makes some money promoting his programs, but he almost always also promotes OTHER financial programs as well.

Ramsey's stuff is geared towards getting people to the point where they are debt free, and eventually build up some wealth to help people. He doesn't often bring religion in, but every now and then he'll quote Proverbs or mention biblical principles.

Some might get edgy because Ramsey mixes the Bible in with financial stuff, but it is NOT the same stuff as the Joel Osteen Gospel of Prosperity - the idea that if you love Jesus, he's going to pour out money and blessings in your lap. The Catholic understanding is not in alignment with the "Prosperity Gospel" from the standpoint that many people on the path to sainthood may experience periods of great suffering (material and/or spiritual) and the "Gospel of Prosperity" doesn't account for that.

Ramsey's approach is more in line with the Catholic notion of stewardship - we get our own house in order because then we can help others. So many divorces and so forth result from money mismanagement, and for those who are experiencing financial turmoil or who want to take another step towards financial security should perhaps check out Dave Ramsey's material. I think it would be wise for parishes to go through Dave's program for parishes as well - not so that the Church can get more money but so that a great stresser for many relationships can start to be healed on an individual level.

Here is Ramsey talking about the relationship between personal financial decisions and the state of our debt/economy. This message is geared towards church leaders, and this is an important message for people looking for more financial assistance.

Let me know what you think about personal finance and any programs you have come across that approach finances from a Christian perspective.