The economy does not work equally or equitably for everyone. Decades of reporting on poverty, wage inequality, wealth inequality, disparities based on race and gender, and a shrinking middle class offer ample evidence of economic distress for millions of Americans. What is important to remember is that these are not simply data points or economic trend-lines; they represent people.
Economic justice is central to God’s calling humanity to reconciliation. Jesus made this clear to his first disciples. The Early Church patterned their community life and ministry after an economic fellowship in stark contrast to economic disparity in the world. Numerous biblical scholars give clear evidence of the witness in advocating for economic justice in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
The church today is mostly removed from the economic advocacy of the prophets, Jesus, and the pattern of economic life and advocacy modeled by the early disciples. Christian faith in our culture tends to treat economics as a minor concern of the biblical tradition rather than central to God’s activity in the world. When we do reflect on economics it is mostly in relation to supporting outreach efforts for the poor. While outreach is an important response of faith, the biblical testimony goes far beyond helping those in need. Advocacy for a restorative economics — where all share equitably in the economic system — are central to biblical texts.
Jesus not only provided for the immediate needs of those who came to him (outreach), he also preached a gospel of economic justice. This gospel of economic justice was rooted in God’s distributive justice championed by the prophets of the Hebrew texts. Justice where a system of economic oppression is replaced by an economy where all have enough.
To assist in reclaiming a gospel of economic justice, I am developing multi-media resources (book, audio, study guide, workshop presentations) titled God’s Economics. It is my hope that these resources facilitate conversation and action among faith communities toward a more just economic system in the United States. I will draw on the outstanding work of biblical scholars and theologians as well as my own research and experience as priest and economist. The goal is accessible and practical resources so faith communities can engage toward real economic change for the common good.
A contribution to support the research, writing, and promotion of God’s Economics is greatly appreciated. Sharing with others about this project is another great way to show your support. Whatever you can offer, thank you for considering this work in proclaiming a gospel of economic justice toward the common good of all.