Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are we even able to imagine another world anymore? or, Why on earth do we pester missiologists about contextualization and synchretism?

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and
rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes
and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure
is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your
whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your
whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is dark-
ness, how great is the darkness!
No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one
and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and wealth.’ (Matt. 6.19–24)

"God and wealth are set in competition for time, in terms of ‘storing
up treasure’, for attention, in terms of the health of the eye, and for
devotion, in terms of service. Our evaluations are not primarily
expressed by what we say, nor simply by what we do, but by how we
pray: the determination of our time, attention and devotion. This is
where the power of money is to be sought: not simply in the worship or
accumulation of wealth for its own sake, but in the way that the social
institution of money demands and shapes time, attention and devotion.
All religions, in essence, direct and distribute time, attention and
devotion. Religions are patterns of life through which it is claimed that
life is enriched. If there is an opposition between God and money, then
fundamentally it comes down to this: wealth contains its own principles
according to which time, attention and devotion are allocated. In a
society organized primarily for the pursuit of wealth, nothing could
seem more evident and unquestionable than that time, attention and
devotion should be allocated to the pursuit of wealth. It is the very obli-
gation to do so that constitutes the spiritual power of money. It is the
very obligation to do so that is the object of a theology of money."

Phillip Goodchild
'The Theology of Money'

I can't remember who it was that said if you are orthodox on everything you speak about, but avoid speaking about the most important heresy of the time, you are a heretic. I think it was Athanasius or Luther.
Money, in my humble opinion, is the giant gleaming idol in every one of our homes, churches and theological colleges.
So I'm looking forward to reading Goodchild's book.


byron smith said...

Congrats on longest post title for the week.

Let us know if the book is any good. Our year group are having a bit of an all-in brawl about work and money over email lists at the moment...

Matthew Moffitt said...

Check out this article by David Williams (new head of training for CMS-Australia, former principal of Carisle College in the Nairobi slums, and a top bloke) on money and Australian idolatry.

Mike W said...

Thanks Matt.
I preached on money on Sunday. I felt dirty afterwards. It was perhaps a little radical. Surprisingly the oldies really liked it. Though they said in the old days I would have been taken out the back and stoned.

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