As large financial institutions receive hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout funds, some of which have paid for bonuses this year, a megachurch pastor in South Carolina is asking, "Where's my bailout?"
"That's the attitude of our nation today: Where's my bailout?" said Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C.
Noble believes everyone, especially those in the church, are in "freakout mode" because they've been watching the news, which has been plastering record unemployment rates, stock market drops and financial fraud cases around the clock on television screens and the Internet.
The problem, Noble told his 10,000-member church in a sermon earlier this month, is that people have taken their eyes off Jesus and set them on the things of the world and on the economy.
"The reason our country's in such bad financial shape is we let our need for greed consume us. 'I saw this, I gotta have it,'" he said.
"When the stock market started going down, your god died and you don't see him resurrecting any time soon," Noble noted. "You think the economy has a hold on you when you don't understand that God actually has a hold on the economy."
Noble is one of many pastors across the country preaching on finances and offering scriptural support on how to act during an economic downturn. With hundreds of thousands of people affected by lay-offs and smaller budgets, churches have stepped in to provide a biblical perspective as well as practical advice on money.
But the economy isn't as bad as many people make it out to be, at least not in the eyes of Noble.
"Let's stop lying and say the economy's bad. Let's just say it's not as good as it has been," the senior pastor said.
"Probably, nobody in this room slept under a bridge last night. Probably, nobody in this room is going to have to go without a meal today," Noble told NewSpring congregants.
The Anderson church pastor preferred to call it a "struggling" economy rather than a "bad" one, especially when compared to the economies of countries like Kenya and especially when the two biggest problems in the United States are consumer debt and obesity, he noted.
"A nation that has consumer debt and obesity as its top two problems, it's not because we don't have enough, it's because we don't manage what we have well," he plainly stated.
Urging NewSpring congregants to start practicing discipline in the area of finances, Noble announced that the church will be offering a class on how to eliminate debt, develop a plan and calculate the amount needed for retirement, among other financial planning advice. The class will be offered later this month and taught by financial planning and counseling pastor Joseph Sangl.
"I believe a bailout will occur when our bondage to our bling is broken because some of us in this room are addicted to bling and that's why you need a bailout," Noble said.
"God will take care of you but He's waiting on you to put Him first."