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Economic Inequality

Resolution 10.03 Passed in 2015 Annual Conference Session
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Recent months have brought renewed attention to the racial inequalities that have long existed in the United States. Discrimination and prejudice are still very much in evidence in contemporary society. At the same time, economic inequality continues to increase to unprecedented levels, exacerbated by the financial crisis of the pandemic.

What is the relationship between these trends? How do our faith traditions respond? Are there solutions to these divisive and destructive patterns?

Questions in this discussion include:

  • How does funding affect learning opportunities for schools?
  • What resources could create a more equitable learning environment?
  • What do we know about the funding of students with disabilities?
  • What policies or legislative action should we be aware of?

Presented by the Conference Task Force on Economic Inequality, this discussion with Khalil Rushdan and Gerald Williams with the Economic Inequality team is on the impact of economic inequality on criminal justice.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty

By Bill Ehlig & Ruby K. Payne
This book is ideal for a local church book study. The content examines people born into poverty and offers resources & solutions for churches on how to become truly welcoming by understanding the socio-economics of poverty.

Evicted

By Matthew Desmond
Lauded as one of the best books on social justice, Evicted follows eight families struggling to keep a roof over their heads. The read will help people understand poverty and economic exploitation as well as offer solutions to the problem of eviction – a problem that may only increase in the months and years to come.

The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

By Katherine Stewart
The book examines the strategy of a movement that has turned religion into a tool for domination, a political movement seeking to gain power and impose a particular vision upon American society.

STUDY SERIES: ECONOMIC INEQUALITY: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE

Many people consider the issue of economic inequality to be one of the most important and contentious of our time. In the past three decades, there has been remarkable growth in income and wealth in the top 1% of U.S. society, while poverty has increased at the bottom, and the middle class has stagnated. The U.S. has a greater unequal distribution of income of all developed nations, ranking 64th in the world.

The curriculum (DVD plus a CD with a list of references and leader’s guide) sent to all churches in the DSC, along with a letter from Bishop Hoshibata encouraging church-wide use addresses the issue of economic inequality from the economic, political, and religious perspectives. There are five 1-hour sessions, each beginning with a video, followed by class discussion.

Videos & PDF Files

Discussion Questions

Leader's Guide

Resource Guide

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SESSION ONE (24 minutes)

Introduction
What is going on?
Why should we care? A political perspective

SESSION TWO (18 minutes)

Why should we care? An economic perspective

SESSION THREE (26 minutes)

Why should we care? A prophetic perspective

SESSION FOUR (16 minutes)

Why should we care? A kingdom perspective
Why should we care? A Wesleyan perspective
Why should we care? A United Methodist perspective

SESSION FIVE (11 minutes)

What should we, the Church, do about it?