Saturday, September 30, 2006

Views on faith, prosperity don't always match |

Views on faith, prosperity don't always match--essay by Bradley Christianson-Barker in AJC: "What happens when faith is connected to prosperity? In the same way society perceives homeless people as having failed to engage the laws of success (i.e. hard work), so, too, they would have to be without faith. A one-sentence caveat in 'The Prayer of Jabez' acknowledges the dichotomy: 'Not that you wish others to reach for less, but for you, nothing but God's fullest blessing will do.' Considering people as 'others' consistently leads to marginalizing them. Wilkinson's theology leads to the same chilling fact as America's primary ideology —- poverty is due to the lack of faith just as much as it is due to an unwillingness to engage in the laws of success.

If the confusion of balancing society's ideals with personal or religious ethics, the hinge of complication for a Judeo- Christian perspective on prosperity comes in the form of our most trusted source: Scripture. In the Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy promises wealth through monetary blessings in exchange for obeying the law. In contrast, the prophets consistently stand up for the marginalized and the dispossessed, attacking the wealthy and powerful, who inevitably misuse and abuse the marginalized."


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