Blogging an ethical economy

This year’s Trinity Institute is titled “Building an Ethical Economy”. There’s an impressive line-up of speakers, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Kathryn Tanner (theology professor at the University of Chicago), and Sir Partha Dasgupta (economics professor at the University of Cambridge). I am very glad Trinity Church (Wall Street) is offering this conference to explore the intersection of faith and economics.

For months, I had been looking forward either to attending the Institute or to watching online. Imagine my delight when someone from Trinity asked me if would be one of two official bloggers for the event. You can find a link to the blog for the Trinity Institute here, though at the moment this post hits the interwebs, only my introductory material has been posted. The other blogger is Catherine L. Mann, professor of economics at Brandeis University.

Here’s a bit of what I said in my introduction — about why I think these matters are important to all of us.

I serve a parish which mirrors the economic diversity of the US. We have extremely wealthy people, and there are people who barely scrape by each week. Some people drive to church in luxury cars, while others hitch rides, take the bus, or walk. Faith and money greet each other every day in parish life. We all make choices about how we spend our money and on what we do to earn money.

On the flip side, many people think about our faith in terms of money (“Jesus paid the price for my sins” or “I owe God because I have done something wrong”). These are not messages that people hear from the pulpit at Christ Church, but these views are nevertheless pervasive in our money-driven culture. I can’t help but wonder how things would be different if we began to think about economics in terms of our faith, instead of using money as the lens through which we view God.

Both Professor Mann and I will be responding after each plenary address on the blog at Trinity’s web site. I won’t post links here, hoping that you’ll follow things over there. Please do so, and leave comments!. I believe video of the talks will be online soon, so you’ll be able to watch them yourself.

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