Of Banks and Churches


It's been a day for strange experiences.

I'll tell you about one of them.

Maybe it's because I still had a tweet in my mind from a friend who just got fired from his church job about the church acting a bit too much like a business sometimes... I don't know.

But I was listening to Marketplace (American Public Media's daily financial news program on NPR) on the way to lead an Evening Prayer and Eucharist at the church I attend during the week in Nashville. And on came a story-- in fact two in a row-- about banks. 

Nothing unusual there. It's a finance show. One expects them to talk about banks, right? 

But as I was listening to these stories, instead of "big banks" and "small banks" I started substituting in my head "big congregations" and "small congregations." And instead of "businesses" (as in small businesses, which primarily depend on small banks to provide them loans) I kept hearing "small communities" or even just "communities."  

Here's the eerie thing. Just about all of these mental substitutions seemed to work. I mean, it seemed to make no difference whether they were talking about banks or congregations, businesses or communities. Then I started substituting "denominational leadership" for "government" and... well.

Oh, and the second story was about "shadow banks," and my mind went straight to all sorts of non-congregational forms of Christian community through the whole thing. And that worked, too!

Go ahead and download today's Marketplace podcast  (July 14,2010)-- you can get it for free from iTunes. I started the substitutions at around 2:10 into the podcast. Try it out, and see what you hear!

And then let's talk about it.

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards

Picture credit: Citigroup Center in NYC. Public Domain.