January 20, 2012

Luke 12.33-34

"Sell your possessions and give alms.

"Provide for yourselves purses that do not wear out, and never-failing wealth in Heaven, where no thief can get near it, no moth destroy it.

"For where your wealth is, there will your heart be also."

5 Comments:

At 9:26 a.m., Blogger forrest said...

What this is not...

1) An "impossible ideal" for everyone "to strive for but fall short of."

2) One of the bylaws of "a new religion."

That is: Any religious movement which practices this will very soon have no "possessions" (== no land.)

If everybody were to join such a movement, and practice it, there would be nobody left to buy that land, no source of "alms" except to let everyone use what land they're able to work. Which would (at last) produce the jubilee Jesus was proclaiming at the beginning of Luke. But didn't happen.

But what evidently did happen: the Jerusalem church is said to have practiced something like this, pooling their resources in their common endeavor of spreading the gospel.

And when revolt came against Rome, legend has it that the people of that church were 'warned in a dream' that this was a good time to get out of Jerusalem (etc). For anyone who'd actually given away all their possessions, such as they'd had-- There would have been nothing to keep them in Israel when the Romans came back, devastated the countryside, crucified or enslaved most everyone they could find, burned the Temple & defiled its altar.

Now & then someone reads this and is inspired to practice a bit of "charity", which for "the rich" means something like "giving a little of it back."

-----

What about recognizing that our true wealth, what gives us the only real security we possess, is spiritual? Tough, yes? Not calling on everyone to impoverish themselves & be out on the streets competing with the people already there... (if I'm reading this right) but not to buy property, build up big savings, imagine this can keep us safe.

 
At 2:06 p.m., Blogger Merry said...

Whew, for a moment I thought you might launch into some sort of a survivalist mode (i.e.: as a new religion.) Which brings to mind the idea of living simply and modestly. For me, simple living means a modest roof over my head, keeping a few lights lit, reasonable warmth in the winter, and the occasional meal for the table. And giving alms is offering the remainder to those in need BUT "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them... Thus, although our government allows deductions for charitable donations and if I take advantage of that, then what have I given? Not much IMHO.

 
At 2:45 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

I think that as Dorothy Day tended to see it, the problem with "charity" is that it needs to change towards something more like 'solidarity with the poor.'

I really don't give much away, and sometimes that bothers me-- but I don't think I'm called to spectacular gestures...

Some of our friends have more money, some less; and things tend to pass to those who need them, can use them etc.

And money always finds a place to go. If I didn't fritter it for small luxuries, it would end up wasted on some urgent need!

I don't know how anyone else should interpret this, but that's how it works out in my case.

 
At 10:23 p.m., Blogger Merry said...

Unless one is in a league similar to Buffett or Gates "grand gestures" aren't needed. But little gestures sometimes really make a difference. We (husband Fritz and I) tend to offer the little we have to share in ways that offer more of a hand-up than a hand-out. Fritz retires next year, I'm already retired so I understand living within the means of the federal old folks dole. We both believe we (folks in the U. S. particularly) have far more "stuff" than we need. One of our favorite targets is Heifer International http://www.heifer.org/

Oops, I think I might have been channeling George Carlin there... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

 
At 2:10 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

While I can think of some good causes, I generally tell callers that "I am not a member of the donor class."

Panhandlers are trickier. Sometimes I dash past, sometimes pay tribute, very very rarely actually manage to pay attention & act accordingly!

[Let me put in a plug for Quaker Bolivia Link, because I actually know the people who started it; and they do make a real effort to consult with the people they're helping, re Is this really going to be a good thing for the entire village?]

 

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