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From the PublisherMoney Enough, is from Douglas Hicks, a professor of religionand leadership at the University of Richmond who is also aPresbyterian minister. Having completed his doctoral work atHarvard under the noted theologian Ronald Thiemann and the NobelPrize-winning economist Amartya Sen, Hicks is the sort of preacherwho is well prepared to navigate the complicated terrain ofliterature in theology, ethics and economics. He does so in a voicethat's refreshingly accessible. Hicks catches readers up on bestpractices from the field of economics and connects them to theBible and John Calvin.
Still, Hicks is clear that the lessons of economics do notalways line up easily with the teachings of Jesus. The "Christianeconomic ethic we find in the Bible is focused primarily on aneconomy based on person-to-person relationships." So many of thethings Jesus said ("Give to whoever asks" comes to mind) seemimpractical in a global economy where half the population lives onless than $2 a day but most of us never spend significant time withpeople outside our economic class and education bracket.
What are we to do with the particular instructions from Mosesand Jesus about how to handle our money? Hicks's answer is that thewitness of scripture as a whole calls us to shift from"econocentrism" to a God-centered view of life that "acknowledgesthe importance of economic well-being without making it ultimate."By their very nature, markets do not believe that all people arecreated equal. They assume instead that every dollar is equal. Buta God-centered perspective invites us to see that of God ineveryone. The trick is somehow to harness the power of money andleverage our access in the global economy for the sake of peoplewho are overlooked and excluded.
Hicks admits that this is not easy. In every sphere of ourmaterial lives, a shift is needed—from acquisition todevelopment, from the pursuit of happiness to the pursuit ofwell-being, from breadwinning to stewardship, from wasting time toSabbath delight. Hicks should be commended for getting practical atboth the global and the household level. (The ONE Campaign is good,but so is microlending; simplicity matters, but so does genderjustice.) Like healthy eating, economic faithfulness, by Hicks'saccount, is hard but doable. Every shift is movement in the rightdirection. We're on a journey. Best to celebrate progress, even ifit comes in small steps.
—Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Christian Century, 5.4.10