Past time for a Rolling Jubilee

if you believe that Christ died for you – thus forgiving your debt of sin, the very LEAST you can do is to forgive your financial debtors.

Musing about that billionaire guy who said, more than once, that rich people in general — and business-people in particular — are not job creators: Indeed, in the video, he talked about what great undeserved privileges the wealthy already have.

They sound like the people portrayed in the satirical I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled. Just one of many good quotes: “I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.” Yet they talk about terms such as moral hazard, without seeming to have any sense of their own immortality of greed.

Indeed, my wife noted recently that she got just a taste of the relatively good life right before we were married. She was working for an insurance company for two years making more annually as she would for her first two years teaching. She got a company car, so by selling her existing vehicle, she could bank that money. Her mileage reimbursement to the company for personal trips was far below the going rate. She could afford to travel, but now she was raking in the airline mileage points on business trips to boot. The fact that she didn’t enjoy the job WAS a downside.

By contrast, she reported listening to some radio program about a sociologist not only studying the poor but living like a poor person. The sociologist concluded that the cause of poverty was being poor. That sounds cheeky and/or redundant, but here’s what meant. You want to get a decent apartment but you can’t come up with the first and last month’s rent. So you stay in some weekly place, even though it costs more over time. Processed food is cheaper and more available in poor neighborhoods than fresh food. It’s a cycle from which it is hard to break free. You end up taking out payday loans, which, BTW, the Church of England has decided to take on.

When I read in about the Occupy Wall Street people doing their Rolling Jubilee, a “Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it,” I was astonished. This is a largely secular organization doing precisely what the Bible has instructed. The book Jesus for President reiterates the economic, spiritual, and justice efficacy of forgiving debt, or jubilee. I also loved the fact that Richmond, California sent a letter to 32 banks announcing a tentative plan to buy out the debt of the more than 600 of its residents’ mortgages. Using its powers of eminent domain…

OK, you non-Christians, you may leave the room; I’m going to proselytize, to the Christians, now. Be very wary of the “prosperity gospel.” Jesus is not saying to you, “You’ll be rich in material things” if you follow Him; rather, you’ll be rich in the Spirit. You know that phrase, “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”? That means that, if you believe that Christ died for you – thus forgiving your debt of sin – the very LEAST you can do is to forgive your financial debtors. I mean, it’s only money, marked with Caesar’s image. Don’t be the money lenders in the temple whose tables Jesus was compelled to overturn.

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