The true thrift is always to spend on the higher plane; to invest and invest, with keener avarice, that he may spend in spiritual creation, and not in augmenting animal existence.  — Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The Conduct of Life

This workshop considers the role of cultural and religious messages in shaping our understandings of money and wealth. Recognizing how these messages affect our personal experiences and decisions is part of intentional spiritual work about money.

This workshop creates a space for reflecting on the spoken and unspoken messages we receive about money throughout our lives. Participants examine messages about money and wealth from several major religious traditions as well as contemporary Unitarian Universalism, asking whether and how these religious messages connect to our own understandings of wealth and money and our sense of financial “virtue.”

To facilitators: Awareness of the cultural messages and values you have absorbed about money and wealth is crucial for effective and inclusive facilitation of this workshop. Set aside time before leading this workshop to consider the questions in the Spiritual Preparation section of this workshop. In addition, review Accessibility Guidelines for Adult Workshop Presenters.


This workshop will:

  • Explore different cultural teachings about money and wealth shared by the group and specific to individual participants
  • Present teachings about money and wealth from several religious traditions
  • Present several models of financial virtue and identify values inherent in each
  • Consider Unitarian Universalist teachings about money and wealth as conveyed through word and action.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Examine their own cultural, religious, and social inheritance and circumstances, giving attention to the messages and values they have received about money and wealth
  • Identify and interpret money- and wealth-related teachings from several world religions
  • Begin to explore the qualities that comprise virtue in regard to money
  • Consider Unitarian Universalist contemporary and historic voices on money, wealth, and financial decision making.

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