Churches called to build bridge between theology and economics

The Joy in Enough campaign is challenging Christians to play their part in creating a fair and sustainable economy. Participants at the Big Workshop day conference in Sheffield were presented with the case for change, and the opportunity for the church to be an influence for good. Economics is too important to leave it to the experts, said speaker Christine Bainbridge. Instead, the church should seek to build a bridge between theology and economics.

A growing number of leaders and institutions are warning that the economy is not serving people or the planet well. (Among the most prominent voices are Pope Francis, and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF.) Inequality and climate change are two of the most significant symptoms. The Christian tradition, and the teachings of the Bible, both offer wisdom that can contribute to the debate. Christians see creation as a gift, for example, and understand humanity as embedded in the natural world. These principles should inform our economic decisions, with Christians modelling an alternative way of life, and campaigning for a more fair and sustainable economy.

"It's tempting to hear the word 'economics' and switch off" says Tony Emerson, coordinator of Joy in Enough. "We might think we're not interested in economics - but then we all have opinions on debt, house prices or working hours, and those are all economics questions! Our faith can guide us as we think about these issues, both in our personal choices, and our wider political life."

Joy in Enough is a project from the campaign network Green Christian. It is a call to the church to imagine and work towards a new economics. Over the coming months, the campaign will be hosting a wider conversation online, and developing resources to help Christians engage with economics in relevant and practical ways.

Joy in Enough: The Big Workshop was held at Victoria Hall Methodist in Sheffield, on Saturday, 18t November.

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