“Christians in the United States who are actually members of churches earned a total collective 2005 income of more than $2 trillion. Christians in the United States who actually attend church twice a month or more often or who consider themselves strong or very strong Christians earned a total collective 2005 income of also more than $2 trillion. Needless to say, more than $2 trillion earned every year is a huge amount of money. It is more than the total Gross Domestic Products of every nation in the world except, at most, the six wealthiest, United States, Japan, Germany, China, United Kingdom and France.” pg 12
This is not the most amazing statistic in this book. in fact, having just learnt the immense wealth of American Christians, one of the most amazing, if not shocking stats is:
“At least one out of every five American Christians – 20 percent of all U.S. Christians – gives literally nothing to church, para-church or nonreligious charities.”
The mean % given by Christians is 2.9% of income. 2.9%!!!!
This book is filled with such stats and results of surveys taken regarding the giving habits of US Americans and it is an eye opener. Of course the book builds towards the big question – WHY!
“Everything involved in the matter of voluntary Christian financial giving takes place within the larger context of a massive economy, powerful culture and ubiquitous advertising and media industries that are driven by and dedicated to the promotion of mass consumption…. Therefore every Christian impulse to generously give money away inevitably runs up against potent counter-impulses driven by mass consumerism to instead perpetually spend, borrow, acquire, consume, discard and then spend more on oneself and family. Such forces are not merely matters of personal values but are structured into deep rooted institutions of employment, transportation, media, home ownership, entertainment and material luxuries…..”
In other words, Christians are caught up, hook line and sinker, in the world and how the world thinks. We have bought houses we can barely afford, cars which we can barely afford, High Definition T.V’s which we can barely afford.
What challenged me from reading this book is (and this is my take on it) – Christians need to begin getting lower mortgages, to buy less expensive houses (i.e. we can afford this much but lets buy a house $100,000 / $50,000 less so we can give more to the kingdom) – buy cheaper cars, buy cheaper T.V’s, buy cheaper phones, buy cheaper clothes so that we do have extra money in our budget to give to the kingdom. We may be ABLE to afford the $500,000 house, but lets make a choice to buy the $300,000, or even $200,000 house BECAUSE WE WANT TO GIVE TO THE LORD – let THAT be the reason and driving force of our spending decisions – We may be able to afford the new SUV at $30,000, but lets buy the $14,000 used car so that there is room in our budget to give money away.
In other words, a radical transformation from Christians on the issue of money could literally change the world.
One thing is for sure – more of the $2 trillion income of christians needs to get out of Christians hands and into the world.