Friday, October 10, 2008

needing an economic saint. but who?

This post, by friend Andrew Menzies got me leafing through my deck of economic “saints”. I offered these economic “saints” at Opawa last year, as part of a series on money. At the door, everyone was given a 5 cm by 7 cm cardboard card. There were 7 different cards in total; four Biblical characters – Micah, Joseph of Arimathea, Zaccheus, the sower of seed in Matthew 13; and three historical figures – William Wilberforce, Mother Teresa and our church treasurer. On each card was a bit of information about the person. (So, here for example is Zacchues (click to enlarge): zacchaeus.jpg).

For that service, we explored a contemporisation of the Parable of the Talents – 3 people who used their talents differently; one who used their talents to trade sweat shopped goods, one who used their talents but lost them when the share market collapsed, and one who invested their talents in retirement (full story here).

And together, as part of the sermon, we wondered what Jesus, and what these economic “saints” would say to these contemporary usages of talents.

(Updated): That was a year ago, but the scenarios all seem quite deja vu today. And got me wondering, which “saint” do we most need to guide us now:
- Denounce injustice with Micah who denounced injustice, and probably would do so again on Wall Street
- Restore confidence by investing now, like Joseph of Arimathea who carefully kept assets (a tomb) and used them to care for another in crisis,
- Refuse to seek profit from other’s demise, like Zaccheus who repaid ill-gotten gain,
- Take risks, like the sower of seed in Matthew 13 who cast seeds (credit?) wholesale and willynilly
- Pray for politicians, like William Wilberforce, salt and light, in corridors of power in difficult times
- Live more simply with less clutter, like Mother Teresa, living simply and in piety
- Encourage church treasurer’s, seeking to balance budgets as investments returns fall?
What wisdom might any of these ancient characters offer us in these troubled times?

Posted by steve at 02:41 PM | Comments (2)

2 Comments »

  1. Herman Daly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Daly

    R.G. LeTourneau: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.G._LeTourneau

    Are two possibilities.

    Neither are without their critics, of course.

    Comment by Paul — October 11, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  2. Dick Hubbard might be an interesting example too, although the ratepayers of Auckland may not agree :)

    Hubbard runs his businesses according to the Triple Bottom Line: Social, Environmental & Economic.

    Comment by Paul — October 15, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

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