Re: Mammon

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Sat Jan 29 2000 - 14:43:05 EST

<x-flowed>To: Carlton Winbery,

<< The word is an Aramaic word for money or wealth and the statement of
Jesus is seen by Luke as a statement against what we call materialism. >>

I assume that by "materialism" you mean something like "an extreme or
excessive stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual
things," yes? The problem I have with such a notion is that "materialism"
usually appears to be someone else's problem (with the obvious exception
of Madonna -- and I'm not referring here to the BVM). IMO, not only did
the 1st century lack a "middle-class" as we know it today, but the sayings
of Jesus lack a middle-class sentiment. For example, "give to everyone who
begs from you" (Lk 6:30); "lend, expecting nothing in return" (Lk 6:35);
"none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your
possessions" (Lk 14:33); "you cannot serve God and wealth" (Lk 16:13); and
"so don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.
Today's trouble is enough for today" (Mt 6:34). None of these sayings
reflect typical middle-class values. Yet most middle-class would find most
of the following suggestions appropriate. "Buy a beggar food and don't give
him or her cash." "Only lend when there is sufficient collateral." And
"save money for a rainy day."

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
FWIW: I'm neither a clergy-person, nor an academic (and I have no post-grad

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