Faith facing the cuts

by Richard on October 20, 2010

Great post from Dave Perry

In his resolute solidarity with the poor and marginalised, the Carpenter from the North shamed the political class of his day and showed how great was the deficit of faith of many of his religious contemporaries. God’s justice and mercy always set his direction and he was never deflected by soft choices, easy compromises or a watered-down gospel. That way the poor and needy would be left mired in suffering and God’s will would be left undone. So through his radically faithful teaching and actions Jesus set the benchmark for all who would dare to bring the gospel to bear upon the political realities of their day.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Earl 10.20.10 at 2:38 pm

Efforts to anoint the current welfare state as an expression of the Kingdom are without merit. Jesus did not advocate for a broad system of taxation by which a political welfare state would perpetuate a under-class dependent upon central government transfer payments. Present reality is that for to many years a succession of politicians have advocated for, put in place and perpetuated that political welfare state. In their efforts they demonstrate no Messianic consciousness. They demonstrate a political and power consciousness not driven by the ethics of the Kingdom but the ethos of Marx and the reality of the ballot box. Those who exercise the right of the ballot box have now weighed them in the balance and found them wanting.

2

dh 10.20.10 at 2:49 pm

Amen Earl

3

Tim Chesterton 10.20.10 at 4:38 pm

That Tommy Douglas - he had no Christian faith at all. He was a real Marxist.

4

Tim Chesterton 10.20.10 at 4:45 pm

Efforts to anoint the current capitalist system as an expression of the Kingdom are without merit. Jesus did not advocate for a system of wealth creation in which a few fabulously wealthy multinational corporations would control the economy of the world and perpetuate an under-class dependent upon trickle-down economics (’if Lazarus sticks close to the rich man’s table he’ll get some nice crumbs’). Present reality is that since the 1980s a succession of politicians have advocated for, put in place and perpetuated that market-driven capitalist system. In their efforts they demonstrate no sense of stewardship, no sense of God’s ownership of everything, and no sense of the Old Testament concepts (for example) of land remaining in the family of the original owners, or of the year of Jubilee. They demonstrate a political and power consciousness not driven by the ethics of the Kingdom but the ethos of Thatcher and Reagan. Whether or not those who exercise the right of the ballot box ever weigh them in the balance and find them wanting, the teaching of Jesus is quite clear on what God thinks of their sense of priorities.

5

dh 10.20.10 at 4:51 pm

Tim, efforts to anoint the Socialist and/or Marxist system as an expression of the Kingdom are without merit. It isn’t the system but how one operates within the system that is the issue. If one looks at caring for the poor and how much assistence nations have made financially the Capitalist US has done much more than other nations in helping third world nations economically. That isn’t to say that all capitalism is proper but it is how one operates. While I’m not a big fan of cooperatives, I will say that is an area where within the socialist context that could be looked at as proper within its context. So as one can see it isn’t the “system” but the attitude and heart of those within the system that is the issue. Some of the greatest people of Faith in the Bible helped the poor and they happened to be merchants and traders (capitalism) who were extremely rich (I’ll save you the list of the examples for the sake of time. If you want some I’ll be glad to give them).

6

dh 10.20.10 at 4:52 pm

Having Faith is not based on support of certain economic systems or lack thereof.

7

dh 10.20.10 at 4:53 pm

Could you post the comment “awaiting moderation”? I wasn’t harsh in my response on any of my posts. Is there a reason for this?

8

Earl 10.21.10 at 1:53 pm

The capitalist system is not anointed of God. The socialist and Marxist systems are fundamentally under the judgment of God for their fundamental violation of individual human rights which are perpetrated in the name of the greater good, judged of course by those in control and charged of course to the expense of the individual. All systems are subject to the judgment of God. The superiority of capitalism to socialism or its more militant Marxist expression is seen in human freedom, opportunity and responsibility.

All systems are subject to the judgment of God. Economically there is no system that is free of injustice for that is endemic to human nature. Capitalism is superior to socialism or its more militant Marxist expression in providing human freedom, opportunity and responsibility. To eliminate injustice from capitalism requires more than simply rising about our human nature. It requires a new heart. That requires nothing less than an act of God. To expect perfection from any system developed and run by a fallen race is ill-logical.
Jesus addressed equity in labor and payment in the parable of the farmer who paid all laborers “as he choose” with no regard for conventional expectation. He did not advocate income redistribution, the pooling of wealth or the right of anyone to confiscate another person’s property on the pretext of agenda driven “justice.”

One may not like the idea of multi-national corporations. One may want to return to a simpler day and age when things are thought to have been simpler. If that is the case, one might as well join the Luddites. However, they were however not particularly successful at reversing the tide of the Industrial Revolution. And those who do not like modern developed business practice have about as much chance of returning life to that long gone world of the village shop. You can long for the good ole days, but as Cher once sang you can’t “turn back time.” Demonization of success may suit some as they sit around sipping tea, but it creates no ideas, develops products, generates no jobs and yields no profit. On the whole, it is a waste of effort. And even more tragic, it offers no help to an entitlement mentality rooted in theory of social welfare that is overwhelmed by the hard reality that you can’t get something for nothing.

Western culture is long removed from the pastoral world of ancient Israel with its family farms and local village culture. Idyllic yet it was fragile offering little hope for families when rain failed or famine came. It was a model that soon yielded to the realities of a developing nation, the rise of cities and the entanglement of government in commerce. It is a model ill suited for modern life. Today the understanding and ownership of property is fluid, permanence being dependent upon not just title and deed but payment of ongoing taxes for pervasive consumptive levels of government that produces nothing except what is buys by spending other people’s money.

Some politicians have been absolutely prophetic in warning of the financial train wreck that is now rolling over people at the local, state and federal level. These prophetic politicians have been without honor among those who preferred to party hard and let someone else pay the bill. The politicians who have shaped the current social welfare model of government were freely elected by those who were the beneficiaries of that model. Those politicians manipulated markets and outcomes to suit their own political agenda. The bill for their failure, calculated in the trillions of wasted dollars, will now fall on the backs of working men and women as well as their children and grandchildren.

9

Richard 10.21.10 at 2:48 pm

I haven’t heard anyone “demonizing success” here. But enormous wealth in the face of a neighbour’s poverty? That’s at least worth questioning. No one wants to turn back time. But many of us wonder if the way that we’ve come to manage our economy is the best way. You don’t buy into the myth of relentless progress, do you Earl? And it’s astonishing that the blame for the current financial mess is being laid at the door of the ‘welfare culture’ when we all know that it was triggered by greedy money-men who got too clever by half. You’ll be justifying short selling next.

Incidentally, any comments mentioning s o c i a l i s m are likely to go into the moderation queue. There’s a reason for that which has nothing to do with politics.

10

Kim 10.21.10 at 3:27 pm

And it’s astonishing that the blame for the current financial mess is being laid at the door of the ‘welfare culture’ when we all know that it was triggered by greedy money-men who got too clever by half. You’ll be justifying short selling next.

“Astonishing”? It’s positively Orwellian.

11

Tim Chesterton 10.22.10 at 4:41 am

These prophetic politicians have been without honor among those who preferred to party hard and let someone else pay the bill.

Seems to me that in the USA today the ones who are partying the hardest are the ones who control the military spending.

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