Woe to the money changers
When Jesus lost His temper..and he did “lose it”, not a controlled anger… He went off on the money changers. You see, they created “legal” systems, laws and means of cheating the common people. They became the law unto themselves, controlled those who made and over saw the system, and got filthy rich at others expense, not at a legal means for their jobs…
What is the Gospel, the Good News, when we speak of God’s reconciliation of humankind… and only speak of eternal salvation, but ignore the Shalom (complete holistic peace), the healing of this fallen and broken world? How can we proclaim Christ and not work for justice, healing, hope, and bringing the Kingdom here? What is the Gospel when we say “bed fed and warm” and tell them of Christ, but leave them hungry?
Oh, how God’s Word speaks that there is a Gospel – one Gospel – and it is a holistic salvation that meets needs, loves sacrificially, brings the Kingdom in the most common, humble, yet life giving all-of-life means! While, Babylon will rule this earth until He returns, we are to be the bearers of good news, declaring freedom, healing, hope, health, and relief. If you reject that, you reject the Psalmists, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the minor prophets, James, Luke and Paul.
So, what should our response be to the same unjust systems we face today? If we are Jesus followers, legal in our nation or not, what should we do, feel, think, and say?
The GOP argument is that if we tax the wealthiest 1% (who control 40% of the money in our country, by the way), we’ll hurt the nations economic development. It is lost on people that the money they make is not the money in the corporation, etc. Yes, they invest their money, but trickle down economics does not and has not ever worked… Yet, we fight “the system” as citizens from them paying taxes, though they milk the system at our expense and leave us with less… We pay higher tax percentages than they do – and it costs us – we go without, scrape, go into debt. The average unemployed person today is NOT the generational impoverished lazy person, but the “middle class – former middle class” person who lost his/her job and can’t get one. On my missionary team, where most work 2d jobs to pay the bills, several do not have health insurance. They can’t afford $600 for a single and $1000 for a family.
The DNC wants to create over arching systems to fix problems. I admire their desire. Yes, I know they are the same politicians of a different hue from the GOP, but politicians and therefore getting “ahead” (uhm, hmm) at our expense also. These systems proposed can do good, and in spite of GOP claims, the stimulus package did soften the recession and did stimulate the, albeit slow, recovery. We don’t know how bad it would have been without it. Yet, the majority of the solutions we face as a nation, a people, the DNC proposes huge government programs… which are not as effective as locally administered programs and far more expensive.
I reject that the government does not do any good with its systems, though. From the health care support for the poor and aged, to the food programs for senior citizens, to the education, police and fire subsidies, the Feds do good. The roads projects are underfunded and many agencies criticized by the GOP are less efficient because they are underfunded. INS is one example…something close to all GOP members.
I reject the wholesale government solution by taxes and large administration. Yet, government can do good. The GOP throws the grenade (socialism) whenever it is anything a banker would not like… yet policing, fire protection, and education are socialism… Because it is a collective decision, it might ideologically be socialist, but that isn’t inherently bad, anymore than free enterprise (making the context attractive for business to thrive), but unbridled free market is license to rob the vulnerable and the common people. Man cannot be trusted – we will violate God’s law and act selfishly… it is our nature. I remember “socialized hospitals” in the US… they worked, until the money changers figured out they could make a FORTUNE by privatizing and making health care for profit. It’s not the people working in medicine, but the robber barons who make health decisions based upon their profit. Now 25-30% of America has no coverage… They can’t afford 1/3 of their income for health care. When I do an honest study of what God says, how his values land, what Jesus said, you know the red letters, I think he’d be labeled a socialist today… Hmm, think of it… the powerful reject Him and crush His message. Imagine if that were to happen when He first walk as a human. Hmm. Yes, I’m being a smart a** and with intent.
AND, just for giggles, Washington State, one of the most wealthy and with the least amount of poverty is in crisis as I write, because its largest cash crop (75% of all apples produced in the USA) is not going to be picked because they only have 60% of the “pickers” they usually do… 60% of which are normally “undocumented workers”. They are used because it is a) hard unskilled work, work Americans don’t want, and b) they do not bring the produce to market without these migratory workers. So, the GOP got what it wants, including the GOP in East Washington, but now, maybe… well, it hurts when reality hits home.
As you read the article from the AP, published on the New Orleans local news [Link], note how the wealthy have gained unprecedented wealth, and increase in wealth since 1970… 275% growth in real wage/income in flat dollars. Contrary, wages for the middle working class has gained 40% in flat dollars. Just in case you’re wondering, that’s including a 10% loss in the last ten years and declining as I write.
We have a choice, buy into Babylon and wait for God to lose His temper, again, or stand up for justice, just as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Joel, Amos, etc did…. God does care about injustice. He does care when we don’t care and don’t live sacrificially towards and for others. There is a coming reckoning. I’m not scared, but I am very sober… If He did not tolerate Israel, then…