Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ways Pluto Tempts Us to Ignore Then Deny Jesus

A common understanding of money and wealth, of cash and material objects (like smartphones, TVs, and cars), is that they are all ethically neutral. They are neither good nor evil in themselves. Each one of us decides, according to our own free will, how we shall use these neutral tools. We ourselves freely decide whether we shall use these neutral tools for good or evil purposes.
Sadly, this is a false Olympian understanding. It comes from Satan, the source of all lies, through Pluto, false god of money, as embodied by our intensely Olympian society and culture, and finally as embraced by our own Olympian personality.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Righteousness and Riches as Gifts of God

Both righteousness and riches are gifts. Old Testament writers speak about the challenge of money. They tell us, for example, about Abraham, Job, and Solomon. These three men were unusual: they enjoyed a right relationship with Yahweh and they were rich. Both the relationship and the riches, however, were gifts of Yahweh. These three men did not earn either gift by being good or working hard.
Righteousness and riches are not tied together. Yahweh maintained Job’s right relationship with him even during a painful period of time following Job’s sudden loss of all his wealth.

The Challenge of Money in the Old Testament: Solomon

When Solomon was a young man, his father David died and Solomon succeeded him as king of Israel in 1015 BC. Shortly after Solomon became king, Yahweh appeared to him in a dream and asked him what he wanted most (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon said he most wanted wisdom so that he could justly rule the people of Yahweh by being able to discern the difference between good and evil (v. 9).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Challenge of Money in the Old Testament: Job

When we first meet Job, we find he is a most unusual person: one both righteous and rich. Satan, humankind’s constant accuser before Yahweh until Jesus Christ, told Yahweh that Job was not righteous for nothing. He said that Job was only right with Yahweh because Yahweh had made him rich. Satan was sure that if Job lost his wealth, he would curse Yahweh (Job 1:9-12).
In Money and Power (trans. LaVonne Neff, 1985), Jacques Ellul observes, “We often hear this idea from the poor, the unfortunate, laborers, employees, small businessmen: ‘Honesty and piety and justice are luxuries. When you have what you need to live well, then you can also afford to be religious and moral; but when you’re poor, you don’t have time for such frills.’ Job’s prologue…shows us that this popular attitude is a word from Satan, and those who promote it are Satan’s mouthpiece” (p. 39).

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Will Faithfulness Follow Collapse, Denial, Idolatry, and Indifference?

“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Since 2008 the monolithic, inescapable, increasingly lethal Global Technological System (GTS) has been collapsing. Christians and churches, along with most everyone else, have been in denial about this. We remain so because we also devote ourselves to six false Olympian gods, believe their elite minions, and look at Jesus, the Bible, ourselves, and our world through a deceptive Olympian worldview. Rome may be burning, but we remain indifferent to Jesus, the Bible, and a whole cloud of witnesses—like Karl Barth and Jacques Ellul—who would have us please wake up. If we continue this indifference, then the systemic collapse of the painfully Olympian GTS will lead, inevitably yet ironically enough, to a catastrophic loss of faithful witness to Jesus.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Challenge of Money in the Old Testament: Abraham

[Yahweh] said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s home, and go to a land that I am going to show you” (Genesis 12:1, Good News Translation).
According to the Old Testament, Yahweh created the heavens and the earth around 4000 BC. He created them to serve as the perfect context for his relationship of freedom and love with Adam and Eve (Genesis 1). Conversely, this relationship of freedom and love between Yahweh and humankind, and theirs with Yahweh, one another, and the rest of creation, was the purpose of creation (Genesis 2).
Sadly, this creation, fraught with meaning, did not last long. Adam and Eve foolishly chose to question Yahweh’s judgment about both creation and their relationship to him, one another, and the rest of creation. By doing so, they were overwhelmed and enslaved by powers of evil that Yahweh had rejected on their behalf (Genesis 3).

Friday, August 5, 2016

Is Money a Personal or Systemic Problem?

In his book, Money and Power (translated by LaVonne Neff, 1984), Jacques Ellul introduces the topic with a general discussion of “The Problem of Money” (Chapter 1).

Personal or systemic?
Jacques begins his discussion about money, embarrassingly enough, by observing that “[w]henever we talk about money we tend to look at it through the eyes of the society in which we live” (9). In other words, we generally look at money and all else through the dominant Olympian worldview without even knowing it. Let us strive, as Christians, to increasingly understand our lives from a biblical point of view.