Monday, October 26, 2009

wrestling with economics

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbour. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be ... Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbour in your land." - Deuteronomy 15:7-11

I've been reading and being challenged by Brian McLaren's book 'Every Thing Must Change' recently. McLaren presents Jesus and his teachings as an alternative meta-narrative to the one that is prevalent in our culture at the moment one which McLaren says is suicidal for the human race. As such Jesus teaching has many important things to say to our global crises encapsulated in what Bono sees as the unholy trinity of 'extreme poverty, extreme ideology and extreme weather.'

Today as I read the above passage from Deuteronomy (sent to me as part of the Sojourners verse for the day) I couldn't help but hear the echo of McLaren’s reflections on Jesus alternative to the religion of capitalism and its four spiritual laws of 'progress through rapid growth', Serenity through possession and consumption, salvation through competition alone and freedom to prosper through unaccountable corporations.

McLaren says of Jesus economy of love...

“This economy is 'bound to justice and not 'free' of duties and to neighbour and community... In his economy the goal is fruitfulness, not consumption."

Its guiding principles are four different spiritual laws: the Law of Good Deeds for the common good, satisfaction through gratitude and sharing, salvation through seeking justice, and freedom to prosper by building better communities.

AS I have read McLaren’s book and been challenged by scripture I have found myself wondering how much I am enslaved to the leading ideologies of the west. While we can change the very narrative we live by. How does that works itself out in everyday life?

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