Away From Wealth
concern with the dangers of affluence was not a casual,
occasional remark, but a major emphasis in his teaching.
Yet even the most biblically committed of us often carry
three common but false assumptions that remove us from
the biblical indictment on the rich: (1) "Others might
be rich, but not me--I'm just an average American"; (2)
"It's my attitude towards possessions and not the number
of them that is the most important"; and (3) "The Old
Testament teaches that wealth is a blessing from God;
God has simply been good to me." Here's a response to
each of these:
the eyes of most of the world, average middle-class
Americans with a "just comfortable" standard of living
are not only the rich of the
world, but the super-rich. (For instance, the average
American kid's yearly pocket money--$230--is more than
the annual income of half a billion poor people around
many wealthy Christians believe that giving away large
proportions of their income shows they are not too attached
to possessions, the mark of sacrificial giving in the
New Testament is not how much is given, but how much
is left over after the giving is finished. In the Bible's
view, wealth is always gathered at the expense of the
poor (and thus is oppressive even if the means of accumulating
wealth are "legal"), and maintained at the expense of
community wealth in the Old Testament is regarded as
a blessing of God, individual accumulation of wealth
is seen as a spiritual danger which twists people's
priorities and distorts their sensitivity to God, others,
ideal of prosperity is an ideal for the people of God
as a whole, not for isolated individuals; a life of relative
ease in the midst of the suffering of others is never
seen as good. Thus, biblical lifestyle is one in which
needs are met, but in which one lives close enough to
the edge of one's resources to have to trust in God to
meet his or her needs.
and combined from the articles
"God and Mammon"
Peter H. Davids and
"The Bible and the Poor"
Bob Sabath. From the study guide
"Who is My Neighbor?
Economics as if Values Matter"
a ministry of the Sojourners Community,
15th St. NW
history the church has promoted poverty as a path to holiness.
This teaching has been a powerful weapon for keeping power
over the faithful... Voluntary poverty is a valid spiritual
path. Renunciates like Gandhi and Mother Teresa have inspired
millions. Celibacy, as practiced by certain religious
disciplines, is also a spiritual path, but most of us
don't believe that being celibate is the only spiritual
path. Likewise, renouncing wealth is not the only spiritual
path. We can choose to be stewards of wealth to serve
the planet. If all spiritual people rejected wealth, then
by default they would give the power to others who would
spend it quite differently.
real solution to the problem of lack of money comes from
a change in our fundamental attitudes toward, and hence
our relationship with, power and wealth. You can personally
redefine money in your mind to be an extension of the
universe or God-energy flowing through you. Your job is
to channel money into the physical plane to use in a way
that supports you and others. .
Money Freedom: Finding Your Inner Source of Wealth
by Patricia Remele. ARE
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