What does the bible have to say regarding economic justice, especially our understanding of money and possessions? This course is a selective exploration of Old Testament texts regarding money and possessions in the context of economic justice. It also examines how money and possessions, as God’s gifts, can be used responsibly transform, as Walter Brueggemann says, economic context’s ‘chaos into a living, generative environment that is blessed and fruitful in a way that produces abundance’ in our societies and the world. That is, we engage missional, biblical and theological perspectives as participants of God’s shalom in matters of economic justice.
We outline four reasons why students need this course: 1) Students will dialogue with the various biblical text to develop a biblically informed theology of material possessions; 2) Students will also benefit by critically engaging these biblical texts to apply them to their social contexts; 3) Students will have the opportunity to grapple with the various notions of possessions and their effect on economic justice; and 4) Finally, students will be part of a learning community that questions the morality of money, wealth and possessions and structures that displace and impoverish vulnerable persons and communities.
The course is important because: a. it offers a biblical and theological study of money and possessions. b. it brings theology into dialogue with present-day social and cultural views regarding money and possessions and economic justice; c. it encourages students to develop biblically informed social imaginary that insists that possessions are gifts from God to be used in the service of fellow humans; and d. it explores a biblically informed understanding of stewardship of resources for the good of society and the glory of God.
We derive our understanding of money and possessions from the framework of God’s self-revelation. That is, we believe (informed by the Bible) that God is the Creator of the earth, and we are simply stewards of its resources. As such, we seek the Bible to inform our understanding not as possessors but as enactors of God’s shalom.
The course encourages students to become part of God's transformation in their various communities and world. It encourages students to discern and be part of God's transformative mission through witnessing, faithful presence, and participation. We believe Christian reflection and participating in dialogues and activities of equitable and economic justice activities serve as part of God's mission in the world.
In this course, we hold that the ultimate context of humanity is that which the Bible tells us---all have sinned. We are fully aware of humans' shortcoming, yet we believe that God, in His grace, is at work in these various human contexts. Our study of money and possessions seeks “full commitment to such regard for one’s right place and equal regard for the right place of the neighbor, including the vulnerable neighbor” (Brueggemann).
we believe that God works with people within their cultural context. This course seeks to challenge students to express their faith in their social context---sensitively and graciously but faithfully. The quest for a better understanding of money and possessions carries culturally loaded issues. We need to approach it from a biblical perspective with true neighbourliness and practising generosity for the sake of the common good.
Although we are engaged in an academic exercise, we do not advocate for mere head knowledge. We participants who prioritise practice as part of our learning, engage in challenging and resisting ideas and practices that do not conform to God's economic justice standards.
We seek to do education in experiential ways. We intend to shape students to integrate what they experience in their context into their learning. In as much as students need strong theoretical foundations, they need experiences where they can develop the ability to grabble with real issues if they are to craft authentic, meaningful solutions facing their communities.