Brian McLaren, in Everything Must Change, thinks Jesus counters the current framing story of the equity system. Here’s how:
Who has spent some time pondering Jesus’ message about wealth? What does Jesus have to say about equity?
Here are some passages where McLaren thinks Jesus somehow subverts the equity system of his day:
1. Matt 5:25-26: seek reconciliation outside the system.
2. Matt 18:23-35: “penal fairness that requires punishment by the book but lacks mercy isn’t the kind of justice desired by God” (246).
3. Matt 20:1-16: an economy of care for the common good … “social sustainability, healing, and transformation” (247).
4. Luke 16 — the so-called “unjust” steward presumes on a meaning of “just” Jesus doesn’t use. Jesus evidently sees the whole system as unjust and praises a man who defects from the system.
5. Luke 16:13-15 — serving God or mammon and Pharisees who loved money.
6. Followers of Jesus are to have a “justice” that outstrips that of the Pharisees and scribes.
7. He invites the excluded to banquets (Luke 14): read the chp in Luke — potent rhetoric.
8. His treatment of women is similar at undoing systemic injustice; his treatment of children and he washes feet — all subversions of the system.
What does holiness mean? He appeals to John Wesley, for whom holiness was social holiness. Then he appeals to Walter Rauschenbusch to show that holiness transcends the personal; then to Jacques Ellul on rank individualism. “We have in many ways responded to the big global crises of our day with an incredible, shrinking gospel” (252).
The invisible hands of free markets will not undo the systemic injustices of the equity system.
What to do?
1. Generosity toward the poor.
2. Call the rich to generosity.
3. Work to improve the system