As we remember the murder of Jesus
11 April 2014
My friend Stephen asked:
" How about you share with me teachings of Jesus in relation to capitalism you would like to lift up."
So, first, Stephen, thanks! for asking!
The following is logged at http://www.interestfreemoney.org/papers/
Jesus On Money, Markets and Capitalism
Here are Verses 64 and 95 from Richard Valantasis' 'The Gospel of Thomas'
(Published by Routledge, London and New York, 1997):
Jesus said, "Someone was receiving guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests. The slave went to the first and said, 'My master invites you.' The first replied, 'Some merchants owe me money; they are coming to me tonight. I have to go and give them instructions. Please excuse me from dinner.' The slave went to another and said, 'My master has invited you.' The second said to the slave, 'I have bought a house, and I have been called away for a day. I shall have no time.' The slave went to another and said, 'My master invites you.' The third said to the slave, 'My friend is to be married, and I am to arrange the banquet. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me from dinner.' The slave went to another and said, 'My master invites you.' The fourth said to the slave, 'I have bought an estate, and I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come, Please excuse me.' The slave returned and said to his master, 'Those whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused.' The master said to his slave, 'Go out on the streets and bring back whomever you find to have dinner.' Buyers and merchants [will] not enter the places of my Father."
[Jesus said], "If you have money, don't lend it at interest. Rather, give [it] to someone from whom you won't get it back."
You might find it useful to compare these with: Luke 14: 16-24 (from The Authorised Version (AD1611): compare with Thomas Saying 64)
Then he said unto them, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So the servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Luke 6: 30-35 (from The Authorised Version (AD1611): compare with Thomas Saying 95)
Give to every man that asketh of thee; and to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of
whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.These quite clearly show what Jesus thought of those who own (land, money and productive resources) and exploit people (from city, highway and hedge) and the planet for profit.
So, if you read these, then the five mechanisms that capitalism uses (TRIP-Up: Theft, Rent, Interest, Profit and Unequal-pay for work) are listed: all take us away from the grace of companionship with God - and increase the income gap - for which, from the secular evidence (see 'The Spirit Level' book and www.equalitytrust.org.uk), are the base of all our troubles.
Finally, Jesus was incandescent about the behaviour of the 'rich' and powerful in his own society
- I find it very useful to read three Parables as part of a group: with a discussion in-between each one:
- The Parable of the Talents in Matthew,
- The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke and
- The parable of the Minas in Luke
(there is a good listing of Parables at Wikipedia).
If the group don't recognise that the first and last of these three is an excoriation of usury (which is a central message of Jesus' ministry), then reading Psalm 15, as well, helps.
I hope this helps, too. Thanks again!
Best - equally! - for all!