Chapter

From Capital to Community: Discipleship as Defection in Jesus’ Parable about a ‘manager of injustice’ (Luke 16:1–13)

Ched Myers

in Radical Christian Voices and Practice

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738340 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599776.003.0004
From Capital to Community: Discipleship as Defection in Jesus’ Parable about a ‘manager of injustice’ (Luke 16:1–13)

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The current global economic crisis provides a compelling context to revisit a biblical text that addresses wealth and poverty such as Luke 16. Two of Luke’s three ‘rich man’ parables occur here, bookending Jesus‘ teaching about the Mammon system. This chapter first introduces the notion of ‘Two Economies’ as posited differently by four modern economic philosophers. It then looks at the so-called ‘parable of the unjust steward’ (Luke 16:1–13), reading it as a poignant fable for all who realize that the dominant economic system is failing, and who would try to ‘monkeywrench’ it to provide a modicum of ‘Jubilee justice.’ This story illustrates the contemporary principle of using capital to build social relations, rather than sacrificing social relations to build capital. The chapter then reflects on the meaning of Jesus’ Mammon metaphor and Luke’s theological authorization for wealth redistribution for social justice movements.

Keywords: parable of the unjust steward; capital; Mammon; jubilee; two economies; wealth redistribution

Chapter.  7335 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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