LaSalle Street Church—a small church in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood—is putting its members ability to pay it forward to the ultimate test. Last Sunday, the church straight up split $160,000 between each of its 300 members in $500 chunks with one request: use it for good. According to Senior Pastor Laura Truax, her first thought upon giving out the money was "Holy crap, we might just be squandering 160,000 bucks, which is a big deal because we're not even meeting our budget this year," which is at least honest. "It felt a little ludicrous, and it felt super bold, and it felt good," she went on to say.
The church called it "Fishes and Loaves" and pleaded with each member to take a few weeks to pray over the best way to use the money. "After several weeks of prayer, you will likely have an idea of how these resources are to be used," Truax told the church. "Put your money to work as you've been led, then talk about your experience." According to her, many members plan on combing their funds for large service projects in Niger and Ebola treatments, but she stressed that "doing good" might also look like paying off debt or a college fund. "That's what this was all about," Truax told reporters. "Putting it to work within the community" ... Discuss
A new Pew Research study has some interesting findings on some very surprising trend reversals over the past few years, and maybe the most curious findings involve American perceptions on faith and politics.
Back in 2010, research indicated that fewer Americans were interested in mixing faith and political issues. Today, that's changing. 49 percent of Americans say they want houses of worship to “express their views on day-to-day social and political issues." That's up six percentage points since 2010. 41 percent of Americans say politicians show “too little expression of religious faith and prayer,” which is a four percent increase over 2010. Perhaps most surprising: 32 percent of Americans say they want clergy to endorse candidates from the pulpit. That's an eight percent jump from 2010, but it's still a long way from the majority. Nearly twice as many don't want their religious leaders weighing in on who to vote for ... Discuss