Thanks to the folks at An und für sich and their book discussion on The Theology of Money, I’ve created a new category called, “Words that will keep me up at night.” 

From Philip Goodchild’s synopsis about his new book: 

An implicit agenda of the book is to propose that theology must become a critical engagement with the actual fundamental forces and structures that shape our lives, rather than simply a reflection upon past traditions, or an impotent recommendation of ideals that itself presupposes humanism as the power to realise such ideals. In this respect, a rather tentative proposal for institutional reform of money, banking, credit, and evaluation is part of the new theological agenda.

Earlier, Goodchild writes that, 

I discovered that just as the social form of empire is intimately related to monotheism, the social form of money is intimately related to the objectivity of truth sought by reason. This is especially true in the modern world where money replaces God as the guarantee of value, the highest good to be sought, and it lends its structural form to the way in which truth is conceived.

Where European philosophers have often sought some decisive term that gives shape to the ways we think and act, such as being, truth, difference, the sublime, the void, time, or even God, it seems to me that money actually plays the decisive role in our society. For money is at once an object that can be handled, an institution which is the basis of all our cooperation, and a structure of thinking. We unwittingly have a theology of money.

Goodchild, in the interview at least, is unwavering in his pessimistic diagnosis of the new god we’ve created.  No facile humanism will be able to save us. 

I wonder if one way to begin thinking about money within doxological settings might be to get our leaders to rethink how they do the occasional tithing sermon.  Typically, the priest or pastor makes reference to the poor widow’s offering, or usually the passage about money being the root of all evil, etc., which just ends up recycling the basic tenets of liberalism. 

But what if St. Paul’s collect for the poor was our paradigm?  Richard Horsely (somewhere) has an excellent analysis of this passage and uses this practice as way to rethink the Empire’s ubiquity and as a way to rethink apocalyptic. 

 

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