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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2010
Availability: In Stock
Series: Practices of Faith
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Douglas A. Hicks is a writer and professor whose doctoral work at Harvard under noted theologian Ronald Thiemann and Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen combined religion, ethics, and economics. He teaches at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, and is a Presbyterian minister.
Still, Hicks is clear that the lessons of economics do not always line up easily with the teachings of Jesus. The "Christian economic ethic we find in the Bible is focused primarily on an economy based on person-to-person relationships." So many of the things Jesus said ("Give to whoever asks" comes to mind) seem impractical in a global economy where half the population lives on less than $2 a day but most of us never spend significant time with people outside our economic class and education bracket.
What are we to do with the particular instructions from Moses and Jesus about how to handle our money? Hicks's answer is that the witness of scripture as a whole calls us to shift from "econocentrism" to a God-centered view of life that "acknowledges the importance of economic well-being without making it ultimate." By their very nature, markets do not believe that all people are created equal. They assume instead that every dollar is equal. But a God-centered perspective invites us to see that of God in everyone. The trick is somehow to harness the power of money and leverage our access in the global economy for the sake of people who are overlooked and excluded.
Hicks admits that this is not easy. In every sphere of our material lives, a shift is needed—from acquisition to development, from the pursuit of happiness to the pursuit of well-being, from breadwinning to stewardship, from wasting time to Sabbath delight. Hicks should be commended for getting practical at both the global and the household level. (The ONE Campaign is good, but so is microlending; simplicity matters, but so does gender justice.) Like healthy eating, economic faithfulness, by Hicks's account, is hard but doable. Every shift is movement in the right direction. We're on a journey. Best to celebrate progress, even if it comes in small steps.
—Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Christian Century, 5.4.10