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sabbath economics in the smh

In case you didn’t catch it yesterday Ross Gittins had a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled What Jesus said about capitalism.

This article is particularly interesting in that it summarises some of the work of theologian Ched Myers. I have quoted or alluded to Ched’s work a number of times on this blog, and you can view those articles here.

In the past I have also written on “Sabbath Economics”, influenced by the work of Ched Myers – https://liferemixed.net/2011/01/24/thirdwayeconomics/.

The work of Ched Myers, launched by his commentary on Mark (Binding the Strong Man) back in 1988, was ahead of its time, and the academic world is, in my view, only catching up in the last few years. That commentary on Mark is, as far as I have read, the best and most important Western commentary on any biblical book in the last five decades. Ched’s little book, Sabbath Economics, which Gittins wrote about in the above article, is well worth a read, and is perhaps a good introduction to his work.

It is interesting that Gittins, writing in several major newspapers, concludes his article by saying:

This doesn’t mean Christ accepted poverty as an inevitable characteristic of the economy, or part of the divine plan. Rather, he says, the divine vision is that poverty be abolished, but as long as it persists, God and God’s people must always take the side of the poor – and be among them.

It seems that if they keep quiet the paper and ink will cry out!

If the Gittins article strikes a chord with you, make sure to get your hands on some of Ched’s work!

Lastly, Ross Gittins recently gave a talk at a TEAR Australia event about whether we have “Enough” in our economy, and what the future could look like. It is available for download here.

MCA

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mark, the cross & the spiral of violence

Occasionally a quote is worth posting. This is one of those times.

In reference to Mark’s Gospel and its rhetoric toward contemporaneous rebels who violently faced off against Rome in the Jewish-Roman war of 66-70CE, Ched Myers writes:

Yes, says Mark to the rebels, our movement stands with you in your resistance to Rome; after all, our leader was crucified between two of your compatriots (15:27). Our nonviolent resistance demands no less of us than does your guerilla war ask of you – to reckon with death. But we ask something more: a heroism of the cross, not the sword. We cannot beat the strong man at his own game. We must attack his very foundations: we must render his presumed lordship over our lives impotent. You consider the cross a sign of defeat. We take it up “as a witness against them,” a witness to the revolutionary power of nonviolent resistance (13:9b). Join us therefore in our struggle to put an end to the spiral of violence and oppression, that Yahweh’s reign may truly dawn (9:1). (Binding the Strong Man, 2008: 431)

Indeed, if “Satan cannot cast out Satan,” and darkness cannot cast out darkness, how can violence cast out violence? Read the rest of this entry

what is a “fisher of men”?

Mark 1:17 and Matthew 4:19, in which Jesus calls Andrew and Peter to be “fishers of men”, is a well-trodden piece of biblical narrative, at least as heard from the pulpit.

Many a preacher has exhorted their church or audience to be “fishers of men”. This normally refers to their evangelistic efforts, whereby fishing for men means something like bringing them in to the faith, in the same way you might land a swordfish on a 30-footer (fisherman may correct my ignorance at this point…)

But let me cut to the chase – is that what Jesus meant? Read the rest of this entry

even the bible is a vulnerable text

After watching an online video posted on my Facebook feed of a well-known pastor preaching about Heaven and Hell, I thought it appropriate to post a thought or two.

This particular pastor preached from Luke 16:19-31. During the sermon they made numerous references to the fact that they are “telling the truth” and that they are simply repeating the words of Jesus (which are apparently not in need of any form of interpretation, but rather are self-evidently comprehendible, even over the temporal distance of 2000 years).

The issue here of course is that no text, regardless of where or whom they are from (even God) can simply be considered self-evidently comprehendible.

I look to Paul Ricoeur for wisdom at this point. Read the rest of this entry

she works hard for the money?

“We read the gospel as if we had no money, and we spend our money as if we know nothing of the gospel.”

– Father John Haughey

No doubt there has been much criticism of the Church in regards to its handling of finances in the wider world over the last few decades. While the majority of the Church has probably not deserved such criticism, the fact is a few bad eggs will ruin the meal.

Such criticisms are a great opportunity, though, for the Church to re-evaluate where it does in fact stand in regards to money and wealth. Keep Reading…

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