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Jesus and the Great Depression

American Christianity paid a high price during the 1930s. What will happen now?

Updated: 10 October 2008

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I was in a newspaper newsroom during the Crash of 1987. Twenty-one years later, I'm still in the news game and now we have the Crash of 2008.

The events of recent weeks are something that your grandchildren may ask you about in 20 years. In recent days, we have seen persistent comparisons to the 1930s. That sent me onto Internet search engines to find out what was going on in American Christianity during the 1930s and the Great Depression.

Here's a glimpse of interpretation, written in 1965:

The depression had a devastating effect on the Churches as well as on the nation. In the optimistic flush of the ?20's many congregations had built new edifices far too large and expensive. When the depression hit, they found themselves unable to pay. Most carried their huge debts; a few rejected their obligation, thus bringing shame on the Christian Church. Colleges and publishing houses, missionary enterprises, and the social work of the Churches were all hard hit by the ...
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