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Jacques Ellul - Money and Power

Jacques Ellul - Money and Power

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Published by Daniel Ioan

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Published by: Daniel Ioan on Sep 23, 2011
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of all the wealth in the world. Incense, with which kings are honored,
symbol of political power. Myrrh, used for embalming, symbol of the
Magi's mysterious powers, perhaps of science. Bringing these gifts, the
Magi put into God's hands the very powers of this world. They
recognized that these powers belong to this baby. These rich men,
having given up their attachment to riches, had to come so that man
could offer his Lord everything that gives him earthly power. The poor
could not offer what they did not have, but the rich could pay tribute with
the world's wealth.

And this was not a purely spiritual tribute, for when these kings
went away, they no longer had their gold, incense and myrrh. They left
these things in the hands of the Lord. They gave themselves along with
their most precious possessions, for, when they went away, they also
became witnesses-protectors of the small child that King Herod wanted
to sacrifice. These magician-kings broke with political solidarity. On the
way in, they had of course agreed to meet King Herod. Power met with
power. They had mutual interests. But on their way out, they were on
Jesus' side and betrayed their own interests. They no longer obeyed
Herod and hid from him what they now knew about the true King of the

Poor and rich, equally witnesses because equally called. They
were called first, before they did a thing, and their situation is the same.
Each does his own work. The shepherds watch sheep; the Magi study.
They are not interested in God. God is interested in them and calls
them. He calls them to worship, to offer up what is dearest to them,
because God gives them, first of all, what is dearest to him: his Son.

For the rich and for the poor, Christmas worship is self-emptying
worship because God on Christmas night emptied himself He took the
initiative and gave up his power, his eternity, himself, to come to this
place where we could finally see him.


ince 195O when this book was written, much has changed in
appearance, very little in reality. Tendencies toward the growth of
the power of money have increased; theological reflection on the poor
has expanded. These are the two points that I would like quickly to

The power of money? After all it is not more aggressive today
than in the nineteenth century. To be sure, we have passed from a
period of capitalism to a period of imperialism, from a society of
production to a society of consumption. But today like yesterday,
everything is sold, everything is bought ... probably no more so now than
then. Nevertheless, I think it will be helpful briefly to recall three facts.

First, in the area of institutions, the phenomenon of the
multinational corporations. The big manufacturing firms are no longer
content to invade the world market to sell their products or to establish
sales out

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