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If you could sum up God's Economy in three words, what would they be?
Extraordinary advice that has seemingly disappeared from Christendom...
What did you like best about this story?
Radical approach to the family economy
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me question my motives and my direction in life...
Christians often make very bad economists, or at least bad economics writers. They may have good theology, but good theology does not necessarily make good economic sense. And Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is OK with that. He wants to focus on ways that we can re-define our understanding of economics. This is a common theme of both Christian and non-Christian books I have been reading lately. Economics is increasingly moving toward mathematical/rational determinism and away from ethical theory.
Wilson-Hartgrove is writing directly to move Christians back toward an ethical understanding of economics. As a student he wanted to change the world through politics and the religious right. Then he was deeply affected by a homeless man and began a long journey toward redefining what it means to be a Christian.
The first third of the book is a long introduction to both the author’s biography and his way of understanding economics. The last 2/3 of the book explores 5 ‘tactics’ that Wilson-Hartgrove believes will redefine our relationship to God’s Economy. Those tactics are 1) Subversive service, 2) Eternal investments, 3) Economic friendships, 4) Relational generosity & 5) Gracious politics.
This is book written not out of academic or theological insight, but practical living. The author has spent the last 20 years exploring these ideas through actually trying them.
I just finished a financial study with my church small group. It was filled with practical advice that is hard to disagree with: get rid of debt, live in your means, focus on God, serve him with all your resources, make giving and saving your priorities. Overwhelmingly the study was focused on balance. But when I read Jesus talking about money, he rarely (ever?) talks about balance. When I think about which of these better characterized Jesus’ actual teachings, I have to say that Wilson-Hartgrove clearly captures the spirit of Jesus’ teaching better than the conservative ‘balanced' approach.