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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No Other Gods Before Me

If you could change one thing about modern Christianity what would it be?  (Serendipity Bible, 10th Anniversary Edition, p.1414).

I think back to the Civil Rights days when Martin Luther King, Jr. with a prophetic voice pointed the way to brotherhood and righteousness.  His message was sourced deeply in Christ’s teachings of the Golden Rule, of love and respect for our neighbor and a plea to put away the acids of hatred that were most dangerous and destructive to those that harbored it.  King also turned to economic justice—to the message that a market economy can allocate wealth unjustly.  It became apparent almost at once that with this message King stopped preaching, as the saying goes, and commenced meddling.  The fight against racial oppression would prove to be a picnic when compared with the fight over the sacredness and sanctity of private property—no matter how egregious and flagrant the manifestations of economic discrimination based upon positional prejudice.  If the Civil Rights movement was the “good war,” the fight for economic justice is eternally destined to be the war that breeds elemental dissention and deep-seated anxieties.  How ideally would I like modern day Christianity to deal with the conundrum of achieving economic justice?  The reliable Golden Rule becomes problematic as the economic advances of one seem to be made at the expense of the other.  There becomes a strong bias in favor of the status quo.  Few want to experience the unease generated when the rectitude of the market is seriously called into question.  Human resource departments all over the country regularly refer to the labor market to determine a fair and acceptable wage.  How else could it be done?  Minimum wage laws seek to establish a floor, but generally detailed regulations as a way to increase income for the marginally paid seems impractical.  My hope is that modern Christianity will in faith pray for revelations of the mind and heart on how best to creatively craft economic systems so that the low, inadequately paid can find relief.  Surely, an essential condition will be the worship of God rather than any economic system.

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