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A Call for a Theology of Theologies to Address Increasing Income Inequality in Mainline Protestant Congregations

Myriam Renaud


The dramatic rise in income inequality in the United States over the past several decades is likely having a significant impact on mainline Protestant congregations. The financially-comfortable tend to look to their religious traditions for a sense of meaning, while the financially-precarious tend to look for help in meeting the daily challenges of insufficient earnings. Wide differences in income can separate congregants into two groups: one with the means to participate in advocacy work and another in need of the reforms produced by this work. The non-traditional and unreliable hourly schedules of low-wage workers make church participation difficult, undermining integration into congregational life and class-bridging. Income gaps in congregations call for a thoughtful, proactive response and a sturdy theology of theologies spacious enough to embrace the distinct, but not necessarily antithetical, theologies of the financially-comfortable and of the financially-precarious.

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