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June 26, 2008

“The Bible presents no system of economics.”

It was a presumptive statement, buried in a long list of blog comments that I read the other day. One which would probably not raise anyone’s ire, or even evoke a comment. I wouldn’t have even noticed it, but for the fact that I was halfway through Ched Myers’ The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics. It it, he writes extensively about the Bible’s great concern for economics, though admittedly with a system that wouldn’t be recognized by most modern eyes: sharing. Myers makes a great case that, from beginning to end, the Bible is very concerned about the twin dangers of wealth: of having too little, and of having too much. He spends a lot of time with the countercultural teachings of the prophets (especially Jesus), who seem to suggest that amassing wealth is akin to putting yourself in great mortal danger. As an alternative, we are encouraged to wisely use only what we need, and to share our excess. Which is just crazy enough to work, I think. As one of my old Greek professors used to tell his struggling students, “It is simple, but it’s not easy.”

All of which has be even more excited about an event next month at Church of the Savior, where we’ll hear about the economics of Jubilee, and then take the afternoon to converse about several experiments toward voluntary economic redistribution and social justice. I’ll be engaging in a conversation about Relational Tithe and Common Table, but I’m hoping to steal away to hear about Anacostia Hours, a system of local currency being developed in several neighborhoods in and around DC.

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3 Responses to “Jubilee”

  1. Moff says:

    Howdy Stav,
    Who all is going to this? It looks really interesting/ challenging.

  2. joshua says:

    Hi Mike,

    I am in the process of getting involved in the east coast cluster of the RT… so maybe we’ll end up talking more some time. i was wondering how do i get my hands on that little ched myers book? I can’t seem to find it anywhere…

  3. Greta says:

    Mike, you keep writing about the stuff on my heart before I can. Which makes it very difficult to write–would feel like a little kid trying to imitate her older brother or something! :) This stuff is at the core of what I’ve been thinking about for the last little while: what does a Jesus-centred economy look like and where do we start? How do we get the balance of simplicity and honouring excellence, caring for the poor, supporting the local worker, and loving our neighbours. And in a global economy, how do we even define neighbor?! It’s all a bit much. But exciting to realise a lot of others are thinking along the same lines.

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