One of the taboos in the church is money. A taboo, according to anthropologist Robert Wuthnow is “…associated with something so sacred that to touch it or even talk about it is to expose oneself to considerable danger…Money is perhaps the topic that remains the most subject to taboo.”

Do you agree with this statement?

Lake Institute on Faith & Giving* offers reasons why clergy and laity view money as taboo. I list a few here:

  • Clergy experience dissatisfaction when they have to deal with financial matters;
  • In our consumer-oriented society, many laity confuse their self-worth with their financial worth and thus avoid talking about money;
  • Clergy have not been trained as money managers or business administrators;
  • Many laity feel shame due to their giving level; money talk adds to the guilt;
  • Many clergy are struggling financially to make ends meet; and
  • The “self-made” lay person is often arrogant and resents people telling them how to use their money.

Through the four year project, Rejuvenate – A New Outlook on Money, clergy, clergy spouses, laity and congregations who participate will explore ways to discuss this taboo with one another. They also will receive knowledge, skill sets and tools to assist you in addressing and making financially life-giving decisions about money.

*Lake Institute on Faith and Giving is a program of The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)

Tip: BAG IT!

Take your lunch to work instead of going out to a restaurant for lunch. Set aside the money you save and at the end of the quarter, put the money in a savings account.

Follow up to last month’s tip (balance your checkbook): Banks will make more than $20 billion this year from overdraft fees.

The Rev. Michelle Cobb is project director of the Indiana Conference Rejuvenate program.

“Money is perhaps the topic that remains the most subject to taboo.”

– Robert Wuthnow