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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2010
Series: Practices of Faith
Reflections for Christians for dealing with money in a consumer-driven world
In this much-needed book Douglas Hicks looks at how Christian faith applies to the practices of economic life-spending, saving, giving especially as an alternative to a life of unbridled consumerism. This book offers reflections for people of faith and anyone who wants to connect their Monday through Saturday lives with their faith and live a more integrated way. It takes a look at how to realistically apply Christian principles in these especially perilous economic times.
- Explores how Christians can rethink their practices of faith as consumers, investors, and earners
- Offers reflections on an important Christian concept in a practical, lively, and engaging style
- Contains ideas for meeting the everyday pressures, questions, and anxieties of economic life as they connect with Christian faith
- A new volume in the Practices of Faith Series
The book is filled with the author's level-headed, thoughtful reflections on Christian practices of getting and spending.
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