While the winter blues are a yearly occurrence, another source of "the blues" is affecting more and more people as the winter relentlessly continues. The troubled economy is unavoidable as citizens are losing jobs and homes and political discussion centers around stimulus packages and bank bailouts. As persons providing spiritual guidance, it is important to know that you have resources available to help parishioners, friends, or even yourself get through these hard times.
The Luther Seminary Library has many options to help you along during these times of economic crisis. For books on counseling individuals, you can browse the BV4012.2 section of the stacks. One useful title here is Money Problems and Pastoral Care by Paul G. Schurman. Although written in 1982, Schurman's concrete examples provide clergy ways of counseling as well as ways of managing their own personal or parish finances.
Concerned about the money (or lack thereof) you're earning from your job? You might be interested in the BV4397 section of the stacks in which you will find more books on how to manage on a clergy's salary. Dan Hotchkiss' Ministry and Money: A Guide for Clergy and Their Friends is a good example of what you can find in this section. Get tools, strategies, and inspiration to deal with financial concerns to help both individuals and congregations.
Are you interested in historical perspectives of economic hardships within churches? There are some interesting books from the 1930s in the section BR115.E3 to remind you that another generation survived something similar to what we are experiencing today. The Church and the Economic Debacle by N. Astrup Larsen provides an interesting local look back, while The Churches and Present-day Economic Problems from the Conference of Christian Social Workers in London in 1930 provides an international flavor.
In addition, BR115.E3 offers general books on Christianity and economics. Examples include Economic Anxiety and Christian Faith by Larry Rasmussen and Is the Market Moral?: A Dialogue on Religion, Economics & Justice by R.M. Blank and W. McGurn.
For more up to date information, be sure to check out www.workingpreacher.org which features resources for preachers. The entry titled "Preaching in Times of Economic Crisis" posted on January 13, 2009, is written by Luther Seminary's own David Lose, Marbury E. Anderson Biblical Preaching Chair. Finally, don't forget to take a look in Academic Search Premier and ATLA-R for journal articles on the topic.
And of course, if you just want to escape in a good book, you can't go wrong with Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Although Luther doesn't own a copy, you can get it for free via netlibrary.com. H