The whole idea behind the "Prosperity Gospel" has been something very interesting to me. It came up because I just stumbled upon this article which describes how the Prosperity Gospel might be driving people to foreclose on their homes now.
The basic idea behind prosperity theology is that God will financially bless those who follow him and are obedient to his teachings. It is prominant among African American evangelicals today (Pentecostals most typically, most famous individual I know of who touts it is T.D. Banks) and to me it seems as though it has its roots in the "Calvanist Work Ethic" - whereby the Calvanist was thought to work harder in order to please God and thereby would be financially successful. It seems as though as a country we have always believed that God somehow blesses Godly countries with financial prosperity more than others as well.
My first exposure to it had to be within the Church of Christ denomination. Now clearly, they did not teach this verbally, but it seemed to be an underlying position, especially among the more conservative "anti" groups. Instead of catering and helping the poor (the very ones that Jesus went out and talked to), we instead ignored them or tried to keep them away because they were just bums wanting our money. They should go out and get jobs for themselves.
When I became Catholic, I realized how foolish I had been. The poor are so important - being human beings - and they need our love and help. Jesus constantly went to the poor and encouraged us to do the same. All people are not just bums because they are homeless - some have addictions, mental problems, and other issues that we can't even imagine that prevent them from functioning properly in society. Jesus went to those people. Think about Lazarus, for instance, who rests in Abraham's bosom. Compare him to the rich man who, well didn't make it. The rich are portrayed more often than not as negative in the New Testament (of course that doesn't mean it is always negative, but there is a lot of temptation once you have money, and it might be hard to live a Godly life and become rich.) The actual advice Jesus gave was to give all your money away and follow him! Some of our Saints have done this, like St. Francis.
Let's pray for those who are losing their homes because of faulty theology, and for all the poor.
St. Francis, pray for us.
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