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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"The point is: greed, for lack of a better word, is good" Wall Street

I was flipping past Twenty to One last night, when it mentioned a line from the movie Wall Street - where it said that greed is good. One has to wonder, when it was that greed went from being a sin to being a virtue? After all, I think the Bible is pretty clear on this matter - Psalm 10:3 says that "the greedy man curses and spurns God". Luke 12:15 says "be on guard against every form of greed; life is not in posessions". Think about that verse for a moment. I think this is a message our society desperately needs to hear.

Obviously, greed is not good in God's eyes. So when did it become good in our eyes? When did it become something silently, if not vocally, supported by most of our society?

Perhaps, although it might be more obvious today, this is not really a new phenomenon. After all, before we just wanted to be rich, we wanted to be rich with a title. For most people, poverty is something we fear and strive to avoid. I don't think anyone really sets out to be greedy. We start out just wanting to feel 'secure'. It's insidious. Our society tells us that it is intelligent to save, to have a nest egg for 'a rainy day', and secular society pursues wealth as a means of feeling secure and being able to buy the things we 'need'. Then, as we accumulate more wealth, we begin to rationalise about why we need all of the money we have. It begins to take more and more money to make us feel secure. Yet God challenges us to rely, not on money, but on Him. I was challenged recently by reading a book discussing the conflict between the occurance of rich christians and the starving in the same world. This book boldly declared that wealthy Christians should be willing to sacrifice their own standard of living in order to help the poor. Indeed, it says to not do so is sin. This is a challenging accusation. In most circles at the moment, this is a barrier people are unwilling to cross. We are being sold lines about saving the planet, even reducing our consumption, but few people are willing to actually point out that we need to 'live more simply just so others can simply live'. Those that do point this out tend to be accused of advocating a return to hunting and gathering or some other nonsense. It is possible to reduce our impact on the planet without going back to the dark ages. Of course, the powers that be don't want us to think that, because they need us being greedy. They need us to buy hundreds of products we don't need every year to keep the industries alive, and to keep the economy growing (see my last rant). We don't have to turn progress back, we do have to make radical changes. How radical, I don't know. But why not start by making our lives closer to the Christian ideal? After all, it's an unregrettable option. The worst thing that can happen is we become better Christians. With a bit of luck, we help save the world. Keep posted on my Christian Living Series for some of my ideas on how to do this. For a start, let's fight the sin of greed- because whatever movies or our culture want to tell us, greed is NOT good.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+