Monday, October 8, 2012

The Ineffectiveness of Riches

For the church to be effective in the world, it is thought that she needs power and money. Let's call this the Scarface mentality: First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women converts. Of course it is seen as good that church has poor people in it. But it is seen as necessary that the church would have access to wealth, or be made up of people with influence in society; or rather, people whom society has deemed influential. It is, after all, from such people that the church derives its efficacy in the world.

The Old Lady (who represents the Church) in The Pastor of Hermas would disagree. Here is a subversive second century quote for our age:

For as a round stone cannot become square unless portions be cut off and cast away, so also those who are rich in this world cannot be useful to the Lord unless their riches be cut down. Learn this first from your own case. When you were rich, you were useless; but now you are useful and fit for life.

If you are rich, you are useless to the Church as a rich person. Indeed, within the above analogy, you are a stone that will not fit into the building and which must finally be rejected.

Yikes! Good thing the Pastor of Hermas never made it into the canon, eh?

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