Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What Will You Do With Your "Economic Stimulus" Check?

Are you expecting a check next month from the federal government as part of their "economic stimulus" plan? Have you decided what to do with it yet? If not, the folks over at Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation have a unique idea. Why not give it away?

Give It 4 Good is the name of their campaign. Here's what it's all about:

The Basic Idea:
Take the "economic stimulus check" you'll get from the government in May (or a similar amount if you don't qualify for a check) and pledge to give all or part of it to organizations working to alleviate global poverty.

Our Mission:
To start a conversation about what it means to be a Christian in a society that encourages overconsumption. To hold up a vision of choosing compassion over consumption.

Why A "Stimulus Check" Campaign?
How we spend money has spiritual underpinnings. Our society encourages overconsumption far beyond our actual needs. It's both morally and economically unsustainable.

Now, the federal government has rewarded the overconsumption that led to economic slowdown by providing many tax filers with an "economic stimulus check" of between $600 and $2,100, encouraging Americans to go out and consume even more to bolster the stagnant economy. This fiscal policy is doing nothing more than feeding our national addiction to overconsumption – and continuing the destructive cycle that got us here in the first place.

Let’s break the cycle and find more creative -- and Christ-centered -- uses for these "stimulus checks." Jesus says that as we compassionately care for the poorest of the poor, we care for him (Matthew 25:31-46). This time, let's choose compassion over consumption.

Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation is committed to following Christ's call through the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals. So we are engaging all Americans in this campaign to commit those stimulus checks to the MDGs. While fully understanding and appreciating that for millions of Americans, the checks will provide much needed relief in everyday living expenses, for millions more of us, the funds are nothing more than ‘found money.’ Let’s give it away – all of it, a tithe, or the 0.7% that we are all encouraged to commit to relief of extreme global poverty...
For more on this, go read Mike Kinman's excellent essay; The False Gospel of Mindless Consumption.

So, are you ready to join this campaign? Ok, here's what you do:

1. Take the pledge:

Because I take seriously Christ's admonition that 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also' (Matthew 6:31), and...

Because I believe reaching out in compassion to the extreme poor around the world is more important than propping up an economy based on unsustainable consumption...

I am donating all or part of my 2008 tax rebate/economic stimulus check (or all or part of the amount I would be receiving if I qualified for a check) to not-for-profit organizations that support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Instead of spending it, I am Giving It For Good.
2. Tell your elected representatives about this campaign.

3. Spread the word. Visit the Give It 4 Good site for banners and buttons for your website, as well as fliers and bulletin inserts.

4. Continue the conversation. Resources that will help sustain the discussions generated by this effort are also available.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, whose loving hand has given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor you with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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