Why not other spheres?

In a recent post from a few days ago I suggested that the media, education and the arts might be best placed to help lead to a new scenario, opening space where believers and non-believers alike can imagine and work to a new future. I might be mistaken, I could be too pessimistic about, for example, politics, business or one of the other aspects of society. I hope I am, but where we are wedded to an-shackled consumerism it is difficult to be optimistic.

2008 supposedly brought about the (banking) crisis, but was it a crisis or a blip? It really depends on who one asks. For those, such as the youth of Spain, a crisis of enormous proportions, for those who received yet again a bonus for their ‘work’ in the economic realm the word ‘crisis’ surely has no meaning.

Consumerism seems to be the root issue with what is wrong. ‘I saw, it was to be desired, I took, I ate…’ Words so profound in ancient culture and if anything more profound today. Entrance to the land that was apportioned, strict laws about debt, restrictions about moving boundaries, and partial resets every 7 years and a major one every 70 years. Enjoy but live within boundaries. An economics that does not stipulate boundaries is not a biblical economics – and in the case of Israel a state enforced boundary.

Suppose you are harvesting your crops. Then do not harvest all the way to the edges of your field. And do not pick up the grain you missed. Do not go over your vineyard a second time. Do not pick up the grapes that have fallen to the ground. Leave them for poor people and outsiders. I am the Lord your God.

A business model that is based on maximising profits is hard to justify biblically. Do not harvest to the edge of the field. From all business ventures there was legislation that gave from those businesses provision for the marginalised and the immigrant. All backed up by God’s authority!

Jesus’ team building had at its heart a strategy of how to lose money. Not some arbitrary loss but set in motion to break any love of money and to give a path of freedom to those who needed it from that. Thankfully even Judas found that path, even if he did not realise it due to being overwhelmed in sorrow.

A new economics is called for biblically, not a simple step of occupying the current ‘mountain’. If to be able to successfully ‘buy and sell’ (trade) is the mark of the beast perhaps there is an economy being called for that is deeper than that, based not on commodity but on life? Everything that flows from a resurrection based faith has to be life-giving.

Money is not evil, the love of money is the (or ‘a’) root of evil. Yet money itself is problematic. How much exists? How can a stock market lose x-billion or gain x-billion in a day? If I lose 20euros I have lost it, someone else finds it and they gain 20euros. The money is not ‘lost’. That makes sense, but money in the big scheme of things does not make sense. Run your private accounts on the less-than-500 year old system that we have and see if you are allowed to become rich or face a prison sentence.

Have someone loan you 1000 euros (it is a loan as you sign to ‘I promise to pay the bearer 1000 euros upon demand’, though legally the loan money is yours to do with what you wish).
From that loan to you, you can now loan someone 900 euros (and charge interest)
Then loan the next person 810 euros, the next 729 euros and so on (this is the banking system…)

After simply 10 times of doing this you will have loaned out 5.5k and still have almost 400euros left.

Imagine doing that over a week… you had nothing, you are loaned 1000 euros and have had enough money to loan out 5.5k. At the beginning of the week you were broke, at the end of the week you are the source for countless others, could invest ‘your’ remaining 400 euros, or have a (or 2 or 3) nice meal(s) out and start again the next week, meanwhile each person who you loaned to will be paying you interest… who would have believed that was possible?

What prompted such a system? The financing of war was the main ingredient. So much war is to do with establishing new boundaries.

Sadly the system is based on debt, and debt is based on how the present relates to the future.

This is what we have… I am not saying the creativity involved is evil, and I am thankful that good / evil are not the only two biblical categories but the very important ‘fallen’ category is there too. Yet the more fallen, or the more persistent something is to lean in that direction the harder it is to see something redemptive enter. Can we see something redemptive enter the economic realm? All things are possible, but this is why I suggested the arts, education and the media might be the areas where we can see a leverage effect take place. And the media maybe against all odds until recently might have been another area for pessimism, so that should give us a faith boost for the economic realm.

To all those who follow Christ whose context is the economic / money / business realm a big respect to you as you wrestle not against flesh and blood, but live out your lives and values in the light of the cross.

Footnote: do not try at a private level to work your finances along the banking loan model. I think prison might be the context that could lead you to.

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3 thoughts on “Why not other spheres?

  1. The main issue is the fact that all of these “western” (west of what, right?) nations, had completely abandoned the Law as written down by Moses, due to the heresy according to which Jesus did away with the law and so on so forth. Hence mindless consumerism due to which people committed suicide following the 2008 crysis though the libor bank indicator was forced, and bankers were to blame.

    As such, even today, few people seem to notice the verse where Jesus himself says that He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it, and that, whoever would keep it and teach others to do the same would be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven, and, whoever wouldn’t, will be called lesser in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    So both get saved, but the one that keeps the Law has better social standing in Heaven.

    I am TOTALLY with you on the jubilee thing, it would have saved so many lives, and, I think that Christians should really campaign for this going forward.

    Otherwise, there is nothing else except for extremes to be fallen into.

    My own father almost took his life because of debt.

    Western consumerism must change, otherwise, it will cause its own society to implode, and, the divide between the rich and poor will become greater and greater.

  2. I think the media, education and the arts are key areas too, for they interact with imagination and hope. We need a more optimistic picture to move forward, a picture that is difficult to create with graphs and £, € or $ signs. We need the wonder of Heaven on Earth to give us boldness to change and move forward. The arts are good at creating the pictures we need to inspire us, education to teach us how to put it into practice and the media to communicate it to others.

    There are new ways of looking at economics and business models but they are also pictorial in order to communicate, so Doughnut Economics, Transition Town, Localism to name a few.

  3. I am hopping to do an MA Theology with a leaning towards the relationship between business and mission. I’m asking friends in business to sponsor this which in itself seems to be a testing of how we work together across spheres. Business, education, ministry. The boundaries are quite blurred for me at present. Businesses exist within media, education and arts and are perhaps different in nature at least in some degree from economic structures, banking and politics. Though clearly they can bring influence and I am hopeful that they will. Related to this for me is church and mission. Hirsch, Lindsell (on your site) and others would probably say church will evolve from mission. Transformation of the spheres will therefore reveal a new way of being church in diverse contexts. A bit chicken and egg for me because it is the body of Christ which is called to enter the space and therefore needs some sense of identity in order to act. But that identity is found in mission they say…. just me forming circles here? For me I think church is not essentially formed after the fact, but revealed for what it already is. And understanding what it already is will helps us work together across spheres and other (sometimes unhelpful) boundaries.

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