This morning i sat outside reading a book and drinking a really amazing coffee and something twigged in me that was heavily uncomfortable, but the more i thought about it, and the more and let my thoughts converse with what i understand with God, i couldn’t get away from it.
The back story in less then a paragraph is, i grew up in a household that had positive and communal socialist leanings. We didn’t really love money, we didn’t go out of our way to make it, we went through periods of living nicer lives because of social welfare, and I was brought up knowing that people were more worth our time then stuff.
So from that kind of mindset i was convinced that capitalism, money, high powered jobs that got nothing except financial gain, economics, etc etc were stupid. Selfish, socially defeating. and then back then i came to a further conclusion that Jesus must have been a communist. Because at that stage i understood communism to be all about people and love and united harmony. It began a 4 year romance. I read a lot. I conversed a lot, i wrote a lot. I reread animal farm to try and figure out what redeemed communism failure would look like. I began reading more and more political theory. I read Naomi Klein, and then, to balance it all, i began reading Stephen Covey, and Jeffery Sachs – men at the top of their fields of economic and business theory and practical outworkings. and even these guys made some sense but not the clarity my brain needed.
Because the fruit of capitalism at present in our world is, from my tiny untrained mind, unfree markets that mean Ugandans i met don’t eat great and are cornered into thinking they can only sell alcohol and therefore are barred from the kingdom of God. Oppression and cheap innovation that means a whole bunch of our foods are made from three crops, which means more and more people seem to be gluten free now. Invisible class systems that mean even outside of India, we mentally train our children into castes through horrifically industrial education systems and minimum wage jobs that make it easy to hire and fire and not train.
So i avoided thinking capitalism and Jesus could be friends. But i was also moving away from the lie the Jesus is a communist, because communism is violent overthrow of the class systems, making a totally different and no-less oppressive class. It is not an upholding of quality and truth, it easily digresses into a cesspool anarchic immorality, lazy de-evolution and ignorance. and Jesus is none of those things.
So lets look at the trinity, and to shorten this already long-ish post heres a video to give a little backstory to how i see the trinity.
So, looking at the trinity, they give out and give out. They love each other, they create with and for each other. They pour out and out and out and ultimately they came to earth and broke themselves to pour out liberation for us. Their love isn’t stored up for themselves, its given out.
I sometimes play this game where everyone gets a vestibule that can hold liquid. (anything from a spoon to the bottom of a chair) and the aim of the game is to use the water in the middle of fill everyones cup, but you can’t fill your own. The idea being a picture of the kingdom of God – God fills our cup so that we can overflow into others and vice versa.
What does this have to do with capitalism and the economy at large.
If the trinity was doing economy they would create and give out – repeat for eternity.
So, I create a product that brings life and love to humanity. I make sure it is quality, and then I sell it at an affordable price, in such away that it finances what I am doing and what I will do next (trusting that God will take care of me) and then I promote it well and I distribute it, empowering others to sell it, to get inspired by it, to create other life and love inspiring products.
Now the shape of capitalism that i see is, make something you can sell, irrelevant of its quality or life giving abilities (in fact sometimes the opposite is true). Figure out how to make it the cheapest (usually by people that we don’t value as much). Promote it by tugging on the heart strings or sexual organs of the populace through advertising and wooing everyone that it is great. and make so much money out of it that you can live comfortably for six life times. Making sure that no one else in your company is that rich. Now yes, that is a skewed view, and there are businesses that don’t run like that, but ultimately, that is the goal and dreams of most.
Do these two pictures mirror each other? NOPE. Because the triune shape focuses on others and the glory of God. Mans shape looks at the victory at all cost. Riches, even if it means destroying lives and cultures and holiness.
One of the lies of communism also is, that everyone is equal. So under that ‘faux’ truth, I can sit on my couch till 1pm and then skate all day whilst a doctor who worked hard at school for 10 extra years and works 10 hours a day saving peoples lives. Irrelevant of brain capacity, the doctor is creating more life then the slacker skater. Not that skating is a waste or that couches are evil, because hypothetically the doctor skates and sits on couches. But we have been made uniquely, with unique strengths talents. Unique creative innovations. At the stage we are firing on 100% in our unique giftings we then produce paradise.
BUT, because we are broken men and women, firing sometimes on no cylinders because of where we grew up or the choices we have made, so in amongst a trinitarian capitalism, we need what some people refer to as checks and balances. Something our God doesn’t need because He is perfect, and trust abounds. But in our world we need consequences, we need a justice system to build a sense of trust which then promotes the ability to create and empower and be financed to do so. (why pirating movies may end in the destruction of the way we tell stories)
So what are you trying to say Jeremy? That you are a raging capitalist, are you going to do an economics degree now? No. i don’t think so. But i feel like humanity needs to get it in their heads a simple thought.
God created us to create.
God gave us the tools to create, to learn how to make the best, to learn how to improve lives through creations.
We were designed to bring heaven to earth. And sometimes that looks like a hug, or a nice word, or sharing the good news of Christs sacrifice to defeat death.
But sometimes that means we need to destroy the works of the devil and create good things for good purposes and promote them to world using something other then booty shaking.