Can You Be Rich and Be a Christian?

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Carolla

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how do you decide whether someones wealth is being used the right way according to scripture?
And herein lies a dilemma - who am I to judge another?

Today's media is rife with so many conflicting reports & perhaps hidden agendas - who to believe? how to know what info to trust? what's being promoted 7 what's being overlooked? Even with reasonably good media literacy, forming a well informed opinion these days feels like a pretty cumbersome task.
 

Waterfall

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The problem with Justin and wealth is that we've never really seen any sign of him doing anything socially useful with it. We see a guy who could easily have done a lot of things with his life but has kind of slouched along from degree to degree and job to job and somehow convinced a party and nation that made him eligible to lead. He would not be able to live like that, or probably be PM, without that inherited wealth. Where are the lavish charitable donations? Where is the foundation supporting important work like eliminating malaria or supporting educational causes or whatever? Where has he ever worked to earn that wealth or show leadership?

All he has ever shown us is a playboy millionaire turned political leader. Frankly, Morneau should be living in Rideau Cottage, not Justin. He has inherited wealth, too, but he also worked for his family's businesses and built experience as a leader in the business world. But he lacks the charisma to be a 21st century leader and that, plus having money to throw around, seems to be more important than actual competence or experience as a leader.

Back on topic (this post feels like it should over in the WE thread but whatever), the problem is not, then, Justin's wealth. Bill Morneau is likely richer but would probably make a better PM. And I am sure that Chrystia Freeland, who really should be leading that party, isn't exactly living on Skid Row. Wealth should not invalidate one as a leader anymore than it should invalidate one as a Christian. But it should not be what makes one a leader, either. Showing leadership and competence should make one a leader and I'm not seeing that here.

In the Christian context, think back to the days when a rich person could make big donations to the church and get a special pew and name on a plaque and stuff (maybe it still happens). They probably even had a say in choosing the minister whether they were on the board and/or search committee or not. Were those rich members better Christians for throwing that wealth at the church? Or was it just another way of showing off their wealth? Why not make those donations quietly and sit further back, which is more in keeping with what Jesus taught about giving?
Well we know that David wasn't perfect....killing his lover's husband and all but God saw something in him. Does God see something more in Justin?
 

Mendalla

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Well we know that David wasn't perfect....killing his lover's husband and all but God saw something in him. Does God see something more in Justin?
God probably does, but God does not get to choose our Prime Minister. I am quite sure Justin and Sophie would make great neighbours and I could see myself going cycling with him or having a tea on the deck with him. However, that doesn't mean I consider him a good leader or that I will vote for him. And I do think his inherited wealth and family name are part of the problem. He coasts through life on those two things. That does not make him a bad person, but it also does not embody leadership in a way that I am willing to accept in a PM. My not voting for him is not a judgement on him as a person or as a Christian, in other words, but on him as a leader.

That applies to most PMs in my lifetime, by the way. Even the much-maligned Stephen Harper is not, IMHO, a terrible person, just not someone I want in a leadership role.

Trump, on the other hand...there's a thread for that so let's not go there.

So I guess my on-topic thought here is that wealth is neither an impediment nor a qualification for Christianity, leadership, or being a good person save that we make is so. It is our attitude, which can be shaped by being wealthy and how we got that wealth, that matters. The founder of my employer came to Canada as a poor immigrant (family members had to scrape and scrimp to get him through university) and ended up as one of the richest men in London before he passed away a few years back. I think that's why wealth didn't "corrupt" (for lack of a better term) him the way it might some. He was a strong leader and contributed extensively to our community. Mercifully, his son (now chair of our board) seems to be following in Dad's footsteps so far. Good people and I don't think their wealth changes that. I am glad to have known and worked for them. But wealth can also lead one to an attitude of superiority and entitlement. That's where the problems lie.
 
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Waterfall

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And herein lies a dilemma - who am I to judge another?

Today's media is rife with so many conflicting reports & perhaps hidden agendas - who to believe? how to know what info to trust? what's being promoted 7 what's being overlooked? Even with reasonably good media literacy, forming a well informed opinion these days feels like a pretty cumbersome task.
I certainly agree with you here....
Could use a ministers help and more informed sources on some of these questions, LOL!
 

Waterfall

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God probably does, but God does not get to choose our Prime Minister. I am quite sure Justin and Sophie would make great neighbours and I could see myself going cycling with him or having a tea on the deck with him. However, that doesn't mean I consider him a good leader or that I will vote for him. And I do think his inherited wealth and family name are part of the problem. He coasts through life on those two things. That does not make him a bad person, but it also does not embody leadership in a way that I am willing to accept in a PM. My not voting for him is not a judgement on him as a person or as a Christian, in other words, but on him as a leader.

That applies to most PMs in my lifetime, by the way. Even the much-maligned Stephen Harper is not, IMHO, a terrible person, just not someone I want in a leadership role.

Trump, on the other hand...there's a thread for that so let's not go there.

So I guess my on-topic thought here is that wealth is neither an impediment nor a qualification for Christianity, leadership, or being a good person save that we make is so. It is our attitude, which can be shaped by being wealthy and how we got that wealth, that matters. The founder of my employer came to Canada as a poor immigrant (family members had to scrape and scrimp to get him through university) and ended up as one of the richest men in London before he passed away a few years back. I think that's why wealth didn't "corrupt" (for lack of a better term) him the way it might some. He was a strong leader and contributed extensively to our community. Mercifully, his son (now chair of our board) seems to be following in Dad's footsteps so far. Good people and I don't think their wealth changes that. I am glad to have known and worked for them. But wealth can also lead one to an attitude of superiority and entitlement. That's where the problems lie.
It's interesting that you could see Justin as a friend but not a leader...... If not Justin, what do we look for in a leader?because I personally don't think anyone would measure up to our expectations. Most of our higher up elected officials and the opposition have money....how do we know if they bought the election or deserve it? Quite frankly, I don't even think Justin necessarily wanted to be PM, possibly convinced to run on his name and good looks and our shared experience of seeing him grow up...who knows? But here he is, not the worst case scenario. I don't mind him personally and I also don't mind that he is being made accountable.
In Christianity, we are going to "inherit" God's kingdom.....we seem to be squandering that too, but here we are still in charge, for a short term anyway. As the bank says, "we are richer than we think".
So I still wonder, what is the clear criteria for someone who is well off to be doing it right. You mention your employer's humbleness and empathy brought about through his immigrant experience......are there other characteristics someone with wealth should exhibit in order to still be doing God's will? And if money is given anonymously, how would we know sometimes? Should it be enough that God knows what's in our hearts?
 
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You're making it seem like most poor people chose poverty and while the wealthy choose wealth; and that these are both equal choices.

1. The wealthy could give up their excess wealth and still live a decent life. 2. The poor can't give up poverty without the causes of inequality being addressed, or joining the status quo and/ or getting a lucky break - if the latter is the expected means to wealth maybe it's not an integral choice because the systemic causes of inequality go unaddressed. It's not an integral choice because to become wealthy you have to become part of the status quo which is the problem. We should judge wealth itself. Because unless we do we will not address the problems.
 
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Mrs.Anteater

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Welll, the problem starts already with the definition of rich. And then the bible is pretty straightforward if you like it or not, see Luke 3, 11.
New International Version
John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."
That applies rich pretty much to everyone of us. I remember we had a thread once here titled” how many pairs of shoes are in your closet.” Don’t remember anybody having only one.
It is easy to talk about “ rich people” we only know from the media. Easy to judge their character.
Bible definition seems to call wealth everything that goes beyond immediate need.
Could humanity live in peace if that was the rule of every society?
Do we have an inner urge to “ hoard”? To fill empty soul space with things? To show off?
 

Carolla

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You're making it seem like most poor people chose poverty and while the wealthy choose wealth; and that these are both equal choices.
Not sure who you're addressing - I didn't get this sense from posts I read. People are born into both generational wealth and generational poverty - no choice about that. Others acquire wealth or poverty through a whole myriad of means - some of which might involve choice. It's complex.
 
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Welll, the problem starts already with the definition of rich. And then the bible is pretty straightforward if you like it or not, see Luke 3, 11.
New International Version
John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."
That applies rich pretty much to everyone of us. I remember we had a thread once here titled” how many pairs of shoes are in your closet.” Don’t remember anybody having only one.
It is easy to talk about “ rich people” we only know from the media. Easy to judge their character.
Bible definition seems to call wealth everything that goes beyond immediate need.
Could humanity live in peace if that was the rule of every society?
Do we have an inner urge to “ hoard”? To fill empty soul space with things? To show off?
No he doesn't. He goes to wedding celebrations where money is being spent on the whole community. He is teaching people to share equally in that lesson. So if you have 10 shirts maybe 5 is enough. To do unto others as you would have done unto you.
 
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Not sure who you're addressing - I didn't get this sense from posts I read. People are born into both generational wealth and generational poverty - no choice about that. Others acquire wealth or poverty through a whole myriad of means - some of which might involve choice. It's complex.
People don't acquire poverty. And if they do, the acquiring of poverty or wealth are not equal choices. Acquiring wealth, seeking it, means supporting the dysfunctional status quo that keeps too many people poor.
 

Carolla

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I don't think anyone suggested "equal choices" - I certainly did not.
 
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Of course when people say don't judge the wealthy, they are also negating how disproportionately the poor get judged in many ways. The poor even get judged for working minimum wage jobs that keep their bosses wealthy. How rude.
 

Waterfall

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You're making it seem like most poor people chose poverty and while the wealthy choose wealth; and that these are both equal choices.

1. The wealthy could give up their excess wealth and still live a decent life. 2. The poor can't give up poverty without the causes of inequality being addressed, or joining the status quo and/ or getting a lucky break - if the latter is the expected means to wealth maybe it's not an integral choice because the systemic causes of inequality go unaddressed. It's not an integral choice because to become wealthy you have to become part of the status quo which is the problem. We should judge wealth itself. Because unless we do we will not address the problems.
Do you think its possible to be poor and content?
Do you think being rich has its burdens?
 
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In order to address racism, and ableism and any of the other lingering structural isms - when one looks at the stats the disproportion is evident - we have to address wealth inequality. Life is not a meritocracy.
 
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Some things are unique to our time and place and how commerce is done. If I have 20 shirts I bought for next to nothing second hand is that the same as 1 designer shirt someone spent the same to buy new? If they have 15 expensive new shirts, which one is more greedy? If I show off good taste without spending the money - in part to promote reusing/ not wasting - is that the same as showing off new clothes that cost a fortune? It's promoting different values, is it not? Why do people need new expensive things when there's bountiful available for a fraction of the cost?
 

Luce NDs

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Some things are unique to our time and place and how commerce is done. If I have 20 shirts I bought for next to nothing second hand is that the same as 1 designer shirt someone spent the same to buy new? If they have 15 expensive new shirts, which one is more greedy? If I show off good taste without spending the money - in part to promote reusing/ not wasting - is that the same as showing off new clothes that cost a fortune? It's promoting different values, is it not? Why do people need new expensive things when there's bountiful available for a fraction of the cost?
Then there is the golden shower curtain, parachute ... or toiling bowl ... where something flies the same as in the outhouse ... knows your chitz!
 
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