Riches and “the Gospel”

I think about what’s currently happening in my country … here’s my ‘starter for ten’ …

  • bonuses’ bonanza for the already mega-rich. 
  • tax cutting, that benefits most those who’re already well off. 
  • non-taxing of excessive, unearned, windfall profits.
  • ‘trickle down’ wealth that’s like ‘crumbs from the master’s table’.  
  • extra ‘pennies’ for the least well-off, compared with ‘pounds’ for others.
  • cutting of public funding for vital services such as health and social care.
  • shrinking public welfare spending while expanding private profit margins. 
  • increasing numbers of food-banks, and growing dependence on charities.
  • increase in families having to choose between adequate food or heating.
  • the daily worry, stress and lack of the many, compared to the ease of the few.

I reflect on the fact that mine is still, by some, said to be a “Christian” country. If, so, it seems that something’s gone badly wrong. Perhaps for too long, we’ve had a wrong idea of what “the gospel” is. When Jesus spoke about “the gospel”, he was talking about what he called, “the Kingdom of God”. He may have been amiss in thinking it was about to arrive in his own day, but his vision remains, and that “Kingdom” bears little relation I can see to what’s listed above. I have the idea that modern day Christians, and their churches, need to ‘rediscover’ the down-to-earth, radical, personal, social (and therefore political) teachings of Jesus, and be heard very loudly criticising much of what is currently happening, and calling for change.

Here’s another “starter for ten’ …  

  • Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth.
  • You cannot serve both God and money.
  • How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!
  • How terrible for you who are rich now, you have had your easy life.
  • Be careful to guard yourselves from every kind of greed. Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.
  • This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God’s sight.
  • As he saw the crowds his heart was filled with pity for them .. the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame .. for they were worried and helpless.
  • Sell all you have and give the money to the poor.
  • He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands.

On the contrary, we’re in danger of emptying the stomachs, gas and electricity meters, wallets and purses of the poor, while over-filling the already full coffers of the rich. Let’s make no claims to be occupying the moral, let alone spiritual, high ground.

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