During the course of the financial crisis in the west, the Church has been slow, awkward, and halting in its response. Through the politicking (and there’s been plenty of that), a lot of crazy things have been said. I’ve been on the receiving end of some very colourful, but not very creative profanity (if you’re going to get ugly, then do it beautifully, y’know?). We’ve heard a lot of “interesting” statements, attacks, and defenses.
At the root of the most “interesting” statement I’ve heard – from more than one pastor – is a serious theological question which we should probably answer before walking another step together. The statement is brief. I want to know, “what do we think about this?” I only ask because I think it’s an important question to hash out, if only because I’ve heard it enough times by a number of prominent leaders in our church. By “a number” I mean more than four but less than six. Which is to say 5 (“The Great Figure” if you ask William Carlos Williams). In my experience when you hear several people say the same thing, the idea isn’t isolated. It could be isolated, I suppose. It just seems to me the odds are low that I’ve spoken with or heard the only five people who share this idea.
The follow statement has been said in private, but publicly enough that I’ve overheard it (at convention in May). I’m not easily shocked, but every time I think recall this phrase, my brain kind of seizes up and does that thing where, just as you’ve accidentally dropped your mobile phone into a public toilet you do that crazy grabbing dance to save the phone before it…>ploop< awwwwwww… That’s what my brain does when I hear this phrase.
“The depositors shouldn’t complain because it’s not really their money; all things belong to God.” (versions varied, but this is a fair representation of the intent).
ps: I’m curious to hear if anyone else has heard this said in conversation, and if this is an actual defensible position in the church, or if its as lacking as it seems on the surface.
Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.