Monday, April 6, 2009

Kingdom of money vs Kingdom of God

The world is currently experiencing a "global financial crisis" which is being described as a credit crisis. The money is just not moving around. Nobody wants to spend, therefore nobody wants to borrow. Banks are loaded up with toxic assets and are going to the wall. In reality, it's a world paralysed by crippling indebtedness. We corporately all owe so much money that it's impossible to pay it all back. Bankruptcy is another term for it. It is an impossible situation to be in. It has a sense of hopelessness about it.

That's the world of money and things financial. In contrast, what of the spiritual realms, the principalities of good and evil? Heaven and hell? In a way, the comparisons are interesting. According to the Bible, as human beings, we find ourselves morally bankrupt in the eyes of God. We each have enormous amounts of personal sin that we can never repay. How do you pay for transgressions? In earthly terms, if one is convicted of a crime, one pays a fine or bail or spends time in prison. If however, "the wages of sin is death", we all deserve to die, and this is the righteous judgement of a holy God. As Christians, we all know that the answer to this crisis of sinfulness is Jesus. His undeserved death on the cross has paid out in full all our moral mortgages. We get the "creditor" God off our backs and we get to keep the asset, our immortal souls. Not just that, the "creditor" wants us to have a new relationship with Him as a son in His Kingdom.

Now, imagine the bank forgiving your mortgage payments, letting you keep the house and then the bank president adopts you and you are invited to come and live in his Woolahra mansion as a son? You even get the new Porsche on your 21st birthday! It's ludicrous to contemplate, isn't it? It would never happen. Why? Forgiveness = freedom. Debt = bondage. The currency in the Kingdom of God is grace (forgiveness) It's a genuine currency backed up by the blood of Jesus. Everything to do with the kingdom is good, creative and brings freedom and forgivness. The currency of the world economy is debt. (view Money as Debt) Everything to do with the world's values is crook, destructive and brings bondage and indebtedness. That's why the banker's son scenario is so unbelievable. We're asking one kingdom to bear the characteristics of the other kingdom. We're expecting a leopard to change its spots. Didn't Jesus say "you cannot serve both God and money""you will love the one and hate the other". They are two different kingdoms.

The kingdom of money and the kingdom of God are perfect parallel universes though. The big difference is, the Kingdom of God has a solution, whereas the kingdom of money doesn't. Is there a single person rich enough to pay off all our personal loans and mortgages? There are some monstrously wealthy people out there, but noone is that rich. And even if there was such a philanthropist in existance, would we not feel an indebtedness to them for it? Would they not have an ongoing call on our lives?

Could there be the equivalent of a messiah in the current financial crisis? As with all things human, a dodgy version of a messiah is likely to come in the guise of a new world bank (read New World Order). The recent G20 meetings have discussed the concept of a global bank to bring stability to the banking system. It could be a new and improved version of the IMF. It will likely issue a new international currency to replace the plunging value of the US dollar. It will be offered to the people of the earth as a solution to our present problems. However, as I have pointed out above, fundamentally, the world has no money messiah, no solution of any real value. In fact, a world bank would create even more bondage and misery than what we have now. We would swap our minor demons for a big global scale grand devil.

As Christians we should be the first to reject any notion of a world bank. Second, we should reject our current financial system as a failure predicated on lies and scams. Thirdly, we should propose a Kingdom economic model that has a currency based on a real asset in reserve like gold, and where money is lent interest free without usuary and banks are replaced by non-profit cooperatives. I don't have the answers because, frankly, most christians don't think there is anything wrong with our economic system and therefore don't see the need to offer an alternative. Try googling on the subject. There are a few books out there but who's reading them?

The real and permanent answer to the global financial crisis will not come from Wall Street. It will come from a Kingdom based economic revolution. And that will only happen once we start seeking God's mind on the matter instead of bankers and politicians. I believe there are Christian men and women out there who have been prepared and equipped with skills and wisdom in this regard. This is your mission, your mountain to assail. If this message is for you, your heart will be burning. The angels are handing out assignments from heaven and will hand them to whoever will take them. Most say no thanks and go back to their quiet time.

The world is crying out for an alternative economic architecture right now. What do I do? What does it mean for me? It might mean petitioning online. It could mean writing to local members. For some, it may involve writing manifestos on blogs. For others, organizing and physical protest in numbers is your gig. What if you believers in the banks started a revolution of thinking around the tea room, questioning the very ethics of the institution you represent? What if your church community set up their own credit cooperative? That could be quite useful if the world economic system suddenly collapses completely. Whatever you do, do something. As I heard it said recently, if you do nothing, nothing gets done.

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