How can two confused agnostics possibly write a publication about spirituality?" That's how we felt at the start: galvanized by the centrality and depth of the topic--and dubiously qualified to tackle it. (We tried persuading more religiously inclined friends to oversee the issue, but with no luck.) Thus began the most daunting and engrossing journey we've had yet with More than Money , exploring territory that for us had been largely uncharted.
As always, we began by asking wealthy friends and acquaintances about their experience: "Has your money helped your spiritual development or gotten in the way? Have you used your wealth to express your spiritual values?" We wanted to learn the nitty-gritty of what people do and feel, and how they seek to resolve tensions between their spirituality and their wealth.
We were moved by the passion of people of different faiths, as they expressed both strongly felt beliefs and intense inner questioning. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and others shared their stories and spiritual struggles with us, and we greatly appreciate their honesty and vision. Only a few could be included in these sixteen pages. Clearly, one or two people from a tradition cannot fully represent the depth of wisdom within that religion nor the wider community of people practicing that faith.
We apologize to those whose beliefs we may have left out or misinterpreted; our goal was not to presume any representative sample of religious and spiritual thinking about money, but rather, to put forth a stimulating variety of perspectives.
As we delved into the literature, we were struck by how judgmental and contradictory the cultural messages are about money and spirit. On the one hand, Biblical sayings like, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" and "Love of money is the root of all evil" permeate society.
On the other hand, notions that wealth is a reward from God or that spiritual purity leads to riches are also bandied about, by televangelists and "prosperity consciousness" leaders alike. We asked ourselves, "What elements of truth do we see in each? How might we reconcile seemingly opposite views?" We decided not to include organized religion's relationship to money (a huge subject in itself), but to focus on inspirational models, practical guidance, and useful resources for people with wealth struggling to align their money with spiritual values.
Putting together this issue has been a profound education for us. Our eyes have been opened to how faith is a fundamental force in many people's financial lives; our hearts have been moved by learning how many people use their wealth to serve spiritual values. We hope this issue of More than Money will affirm your own spiritual journey, and help us all take a next step towards living with greater integrity and conviction. .
--Christopher Mogil and Anne Slepian
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