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Sound as a dollar?

Charity | A fluctuating currency and "lukewarm" giving wreak havoc on missions efforts
by Warren Cole Smith & Rusty Leonard
Posted 2/28/09, 12:00 am

William Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name still smells the same, but not so international currencies. And when the value of the U.S. dollar sometimes stinks, no one feels that more acutely than American missionaries, or foreign nationals who depend on American dollars to sustain their work.

Despite a recent rally in the value of the U.S. dollar-due, ironically, to the problems of the U.S. financial markets spreading overseas-the dollar is generally trading below levels of two years ago, and major ministries are feeling the pinch.

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Associated Press/Photo by Susan Montoya Bryan

The other stimulus

Charity | Concern over Obama's public spending need not overlook his call for private service
by Mark Bergin
Posted 2/28/09, 12:00 am

President Barack Obama called the nation to service in the weeks leading up to his inauguration. And on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Americans across the country responded, fanning out to soup kitchens, neighborhood cleanup projects, blood banks, and numerous other helpful community initiatives in every state. About 13,000 such projects generated a widespread sense of participation in Obama's presidential installment and the accompanying promise of change.

Now what?

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Profound witness

Charity | Giving money in tough times says much about Christian security
by Rusty Leonard & Warren Cole Smith
Posted 1/31/09, 12:00 am

William Lobdell's recent book Losing My Religion chronicles his conversion to Christianity-and his subsequent rejection of Christianity after a decade of covering religion for the Los Angeles Times. Many of those stories had to do with Christians and the way they handled money.

"Evangelicals don't give anywhere near 10 percent of their income to charity," Lobdell said. "Only a very few, often on the fringes of mainstream or evangelical Christianity, behave with their money as if they believe the Gospel is actually true."

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