Is It Rude To Talk About Money?

As we continue in Lent, I hope you’re getting into a rhythm of taking some time each day to put a few coins in your coin bank. This week, I’m wondering how this spiritual practice affects our everyday thinking and living around…dun, dun, dunmoney.

Many of us grow up learning that money is one of a few topics — like politics, sex and religion — that you should avoid in polite company.

The social taboo, the intimidation factor, embarrassment — all of these forces conspire to keep us from talking about money. For example, according to data from Fidelity Investments, 43 percent of Americans don’t know how much money their spouse makes, yet fighting about money is a top predictor of divorce. 

We’re discouraged from talking about money at every turn, but if you want to fix your financial situation, talking about it is necessary.

The same is true if we want to address our societal issues around income inequality and poverty. We have to push against social taboos and practice talking about money in a way that is grounded in God’s call to love and care for our neighbor. 

I think this means speaking compassionately and also realistically. 

Last year, we raised just over $3,500 through coin banks for our Food Cupboard. That is a huge testimony to our commitment to this practice, and yet it makes up a very small percentage of the amount of money it takes to fund this ministry. 

Realistically, it will take much more to really address poverty in Philadelphia than filling up our coin banks. Our spiritual practice of giving this Lent helps us recognize this reality while also inviting us to imagine how our daily practice of putting coins in a bank might open us to greater acts of economic justice and solidarity. That possibility is what makes the money we raise transformative. 

How will this Lenten coin bank practice change or challenge the way you think about money? And what does that have to do with your faith?

How would you describe this practice to a friend or coworker?

Imagine how those few random coins in your pocket at the end of the day, even though they seem inconsequential, have purpose and potential, when we offer them in the name of God’s love. What would that mean for your life?

Parts of this reflection come from