Uncommon Cents Round-Up

The conversation and thought that has arisen from our “Uncommon Cents” series has been encouraging. As we’ve wrestled with the scriptures it seems they’ve put us at odds with ourselves. Facing into what Jesus said about money, possessions, stewardship and taking care of the poor forces us towards honest self-inventory and response.

May we, as individuals and a community, hold people tightly and possessions loosely. May we die to ourselves and live selfless lives, full of grace and love. And may we spend ourselves, on behalf of God and his Kingdom, for the benefit of those whom we are responsible for.

Below we’ve listed some the best quotes, video clips and article links from this past month. At the end of the post you’ll also find a prayer & response written by Nathan that was part of our series.

Article: “The $100 House: Wonderful and Sad

“Churches and individuals rarely actually discuss or hold the community accountable for responsible, kingdom-driven decisions regarding finances. Such discussions would lead to the reduction of hoarding and consumerism, change how we view and attain security, enable various ministries and relieve the plight of the poor. Economic decisions are not easy, but the church should not only lead the way but demonstrate by its use of money the reality of its gospel.” (Klyne Snodgrass)

“Christians are dominated by the same concern as the rest of society, but Jesus teaching is intended to give us a different set of concerns.”(Klyne Snodgrass)

“We quit thinking of wealth as love to be shared and begin calculating it as power to be used. We reinterpret our wealth and position as something we are in charge of and others as the poor that we must organize and direct and guide. As we do it, it feels good. We are in charge. We don’t need others. We are in control. We know more than others, we have more experience. We are going so much good! We need a bigger barn. In order to be more effective in our use of what we have we accumulate more, extend our influence. We become very busy doing good, because when we are very busy we don’t have time for building the more demanding and difficult personal relationships of love. Building barns, which is so obviously a good thing, doesn’t leave much energy left over for the time-consuming work of loving our neighbours, let alone our God.” (Eugene Peterson)

“The parable is not, as often supposed, a description of the afterlife, warning people to be sure of their ultimate destination…The reality is uncomfortably different…it’s about what was happening to the rich and poor in the present time. Jesus’ welcome of the poor and outcast was a sign that the real return from exile, the new age, the ‘resurrection’, is coming into being; and if the new age is dawning, those who want to belong to it will have to repent.”
(NT Wright)

“…personally, but not individualistically. In the biblical story repentance cannot be narrowed down to something private, such as being sorry for your sins and ready to make amends. The aim is to return to God and the ways of God with his people. To return to the Story and everything and everyone in the Story. It has to do with entering a new way of life, taking up membership in the kingdom of God. Jesus is calling men and women to join him in a way of life that wills inclusion in the kingdom.” (Eugene Peterson)

“The kingdom of God is proclaimed as good news and everyone enters into it violently. Once again, Luke is on target: it is not success of any kind that saves – not even success in keeping the law; it is only the violent disruption of all success proclaimed by the Gospel of death and resurrection that can lead to true life in the kingdom.” (Robert Capon)

“As early as Ambrose we are cautioned against sanctifying all poverty and vilifying all wealth, which is fair enough. Poverty is not a gift from God, but a problem – often the result of sin by numerous people – that needs relieving. Wealthy may indeed be a blessing of God and the result of hard work, but also ‘Property is a veil for many evils.’ What the parable attacks is a particular kind of wealth, wealth that does not see poverty and suffering. It attacks the idea that possessions are for one’s own use and that they are owned without responsibility to God and other people. This is not as some have feared an opiate for the poor which will keep them satisfied with a handout. The parable does not tell us how the wealthy are to assist the poor, but it insists that the poor are brothers and sisters of the wealthy and that the justice of the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty cannot be tolerated.” (Klyne Snodgrass)

“We are the rich man. We belong to that third of humanity which is concerned with slimming cures, while the other two-thirds are concerned with hunger.” (Helmut Gollwitzer)

“The way of the [Christian] is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much but the way of downward mobility ending at the cross. This might sound morbid and masochistic, but for those who have heard the voice of the first love and said yes to it, the downward-moving way of Jesus is the way to the joy and the peace of God, a joy and peace that is not of this world.”(Henri Nouwen)

God, thank-you for your blessings
Thank-you for our wealth
Thank-you for our community

Let us not turn your blessings into curses
Let us not hoard your wealth as if it’s ours
Let us not focus on ourselves but each other

God, thank-you for this story
Thank-you for the barns we already have
Thank-you for our full stomachs

Let us tell this story with humility
Let us not be afraid of empty barns
Turn our ears to empty stomachs and hearts

God, thank-you for your story
Thank-you for grace when we fail
Thank-you for your promise of abundance

Let us not turn your story into selfishness
Allow our failure to highlight your grace
May we build different kinds of barns
May we throw different kinds of parties

God, even though we are poor
Let us make many rich
Even though we are sorrowful
Let us always rejoice
Even though we have nothing
May we possess everything.