One of the great disservices Christianity has done itself over they years is to convince the world (and perhaps ourselves) that our primary purpose is to be right, to prove others wrong, and to coerce others into becoming like us. The truth of the matter is that the heart of Christianity is far less coercive and far more compelling than most folk, including Christians, give it credit for.

One of the most compelling messages I find in the Judeo-Christian tradition is the message of liberation. This is perhaps the overriding narrative of the Hebrew Bible, epitomized in the story of Moses leading God’s people out of bondage in Egypt and delivering them to a land of prosperity and potential.

The Christian testament is often understood as shifting foci from earthly liberation to a spiritual liberation from sin and/or eternal judgement, but the truth is, Jesus cares about earthly bodies. While he didn’t lead an army to drive out the occupying forces of Rome as many had hoped he would, Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, and distribute money to the poor. In essence, a significant portion of Jesus’ earthly ministry was dedicated to the liberation of folk from disease and poverty, and he regularly taught his followers to care for lepers, orphans, foreigners, and widows who would otherwise be bound by institutional oppression that would keep them from fully participating in their communities.

Today City Square is working in partnership with community members in Downtown Phoenix to discern what liberation is necessary in our communities. While that discernment is an ongoing process, one thing we’ve heard again and again are stories of folk being bound by debt and/or an inability to get a handle on their personal finances. Mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, bills, and an overall inability to get caught up/get ahead financially are all issues that hang over our community and keep folk from living into their full potential.

If this sounds like you I hope you’ll consider joining us at 6:30pm at Burton Barr Library on Tuesdays starting in January for Financial Peace University*, a class that helped my wife and I begin to get a hold of our own finances and which might be able to do the same for you and your partner, spouse, or family.

This class isn’t about getting you to believe anything different, except maybe that you don’t always have to live with the stress that finances can cause in your life. The cost of materials for the class is $100 which goes entirely to the folk who create the curriculum. City Square isn’t making a dime off of these classes. For us, it’s all about liberation from the things that bind us. You can sign up for the class here or contact me for more information at [email protected].

Regardless of the journey you’re on, if financial peace is a part of it, we hope you’ll consider joining us for this class.

Be well y’all.

*personally, I don’t believe that the financial liberation offered by Jesus and that offered by Financial Peace University are one in the same. While Jesus offered an entirely new way of thinking about economic and social structures, FPU offers sound advice for how to live in the current US economic system by controlling your money rather than allowing it to control you. For further conversation on the economics of Christ let’s grab coffee!