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Opportunity Knocks

The New York Times had an article a few weeks ago with the headline “Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches.” Slate’s press critic, Jack Shafer, who has never met a trend story that he didn’t want to debunk, posted a rebuttal a week later, citing Gallup research suggesting that church attendance did not increase as the economic news got worse and worse over the course of 2008.

zionI have no idea who is right, since I don’t think I made it to the end of either article, but they did remind me of some pictures I took in October, during the most tumultuous period of this ongoing crisis (at least so far; let’s see what fun is in store for 2009).

I took the dog for a long walk up toward the hills one day, and passed two churches that were seizing the moment like any savvy investor would: when prices fall, it’s an opportunity to add to your portfolio!

And who can blame them? When you traffic in the eternal, I suppose it’s only natural to remind people who are anxious about something as worldly and material as the stock market that a few hundred points up or down in the S&P 500 don’t even register on the great Bloomberg terminal in the sky.

What to do, what to do And if your reminder happens to draw some worldly, material people to your church to hear more about God’s eternal love, and perhaps to drop a few bills in the plate, then so much the better. Worldly concerns and eternal concerns may be different, but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive, right? Just ask Joel Osteen.

I don’t remember what made me snap photos of these signs, because they don’t seem so remarkable when I look at them now. They do, however, raise a worldly and eternal question: What stocks would Jesus buy?