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God's Economy: Redefining the Health and Wealth Gospel

God's Economy: Redefining the Health and Wealth Gospel

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God's Economy: Redefining the Health and Wealth Gospel

ratings:
5/5 (1 rating)
Length:
172 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 6, 2009
ISBN:
9780310562085
Format:
Book

Description

While “health and wealth” proponents urge Christians to claim for themselves material blessings, others insist that God’s best gifts can’t be enjoyed until heaven. The truth of God’s intentions, writes acclaimed author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, is far greater than either perspective suggests.Packed with inspiring stories, God’s Economy invites readers to step into the good life God intends his people to enjoy here and now—not a shrink-wrapped, plastic version of prosperity but a liberating approach to living that leads to genuine and lasting satisfaction.With persuasive enthusiasm, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove draws from the teachings of Jesus on money and explores five tactics for living in God’s economy of abundance. Rather than being subject to unpredictable market factors, those who live by God’s economy find their security in the richness of community and generosity.
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 6, 2009
ISBN:
9780310562085
Format:
Book

About the author

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is an associate minister at St. Johns Baptist Church. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, Jonathan is engaged in reconciliation efforts in Durham, North Carolina, directs the School for Conversion (newmonasticism.org), and is a sought-after speaker and author of several books. The Rutba House, where Jonathan lives with his wife, Leah, their son, JaiMichael, daughter, Nora Ann, and other friends, is a new monastic community that prays, eats, and lives together, welcoming neighbors and homeless. Find out more at jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com.


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Inside the book

Top quotes

  • More often than not it is an idol that doesn’t look like an idol. The demons seem to take particular delight in using money to create believable illu-sions of good things, truly godly ambitions, and yes, even the favor of God.

  • No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Luke 16:13).

  • Not that money is immoral or evil in itself, but the words of Jesus and the experience of Christians everywhere leave no room for doubt that money is the most powerful and destructive idol around.

  • Karl’s poverty wasn’t simply a lack of resources. It was a deeper problem — an issue that went beyond his basic material needs. The real problem was that Karl’s poverty deprived him of respect.

  • Joel Osteen and T. D. Jakes are right about one thing: our God of abundance does want to give you your best life now.

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God's Economy - Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

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  • (5/5)
    The book God’s Economy: Redefining the Health and Wealth Gospel by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove provides an interesting look at a controversial subject: How should Christians understand money?The first four chapters prepare us through a combination of autobiography on the part of the author, examination of biblical texts, and theological discussion on the issues of poverty, money, and power. The latter four chapters explain four “tactics” Jonathon suggests Christians use in the world to help us create a new understanding of abundance.Towards the beginning of the book Jonathon challenges many fundamental aspects of the “American dream.” In speak of Joseph, for example, he says that his life was one “marked less by teh abundance of possessions than by abundant relationships.” He takes the rest of the book to discuss how Christians might re-order their thinking around relationships instead of possessions. He says elsewhere that “what concerns Jesus about money isn’t so much how we should use it…as how it affects our relationships with God.”He also spends the first four chapters attempting to get rid of the popular ideas that problems in the world are either: (1) The fault of the rich having too much, or (2) The poor being lazy. He explores a kind of “third way” where the lines aren’t so finely drawn, and where relationships are central. His main example for this kind of life is St. Francis of Assisi who valued the relationships in his life over his wealth and possessions (indeed even ripping his own clothes off his back to return them to his father). Money has away of “quietly colonizing” us in ways we least expect. He notes, as many authors have noted as of late, how the ‘protestant ethic’ has separated ’spiritual’ and ‘material’ realities into separate spheres (to the point of excluding God in the ‘material’ reality).Another preparation Jonathon makes before delving into his four tactics is understanding the importance of first century economies and the importance of the feast-table. The biggest problem that modern readers of the biblical text have is understanding first century economies. We have to understand that the household was also the primary means by which commercial ventures took place. There was no separation between the two in this time period, and thus to understand Jesus’ teaching about family, we must understand that family household economics was all their was. There was not other way of doing things. The point of such household economies was to create as big and powerful a household as possible with as many servants as possible.From here, Jonathon goes into his first tactic: subversive service. We are called, not to be the great fathers of great households, but to be like children. To read the text as Jesus speaking of childlike faith is incoherent to a first century economy. Rather, the authors seem to be calling us to be ‘nothing’ – or, at least, nothing as a child was considered nothing in a household economy structure. We are to BE the least and the last.The second tactic is what Jonathan calls “eternal investments.” When I first read the title of this chapter I was a little unsure of what to think. I don’t like the idea of someday you’ll be rewarded in heaven for all the good things you do on earth. Luckily, that’s not at all what he was referencing with this second tactic. Rather, he was talking about investing in things that don’t fade away (i.e. people rather than possessions). He talks about the difference between investing eternally and investing effectively. If our investments are to be “effective,” Jesus would have sided with Judas in criticizing Mary when she anointed his feet with oil.The third tactic Jonathan refers to as “eternal friendships.” For the example here Jonathan speaks of the shrewd manager who made friends in order to save his job. I enjoyed Jonathan’s interpretation of the shrewd manager, and I think he makes some good points that I had never really heard in church before regarding the important parable. He charges those reading to try and understand the “wisdom of the weak” and not just ’serve’ them. He talks about many organizations serving the poor who don’t actually consult the poor (thinking that they will only ’slow them down.’). In order to be the people of God, we need to get rid of the lines of separation and create a life of abundance now in the friendships we make (without fear).The fourth and final tactic is relational generosity. Relational generosity is different than most Americanized charities because it calls us to be in relationship with those who we serve. We are not to be part of some philanthropic organization that gives to the poor, but then goes to live apart from them for most of our day.The book, as a whole, is a very well thought out way to live as Christians in the world. It is about more than money and health and wealth because it deals with our entire lives. There will be some for whom the book will be too radical. I am also sure that Jonathan will be called a ’socialist’ by those who do take a few of things he says in the book out of context. There are parts in the book where he talks about new monasticism and the rich giving to the poor in churches. All of these things will make his message difficult to swallow if you hold capitalism too tightly, but he seems to be right on in his theological and biblical analysis of the Christian life. The book is both imaginative and grounded.If you give his book the chance to speak to you, I’m sure it will change you in some way, shape or form.