Money for Nothing: The Either/Or of Divine Election

"What is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16: 15).

There is no proportion between the calculus of the world and the life of divine election. No proportion at all. God or mammon. God or money. God or profit. God or material possessions. God or success. God or comfort. Either. Or.

The Pharisees sneer.

The Gospel readings for the last two days have presented the Parable of the Dishonest Steward. And the thing cannot cut deeply enough. We always find ways to protect ourselves from the radicality of Jesus.

To out live divine election requires faith, a freefall into an expanding abyss.

Faith: the substance of things hoped for. Mammon: the substance of this world. Two kingdoms. No mediation possible.

Even such an honest thinker as D. H. Lawrence, in revolt against bourgeois cruelties, cannot escape the gravity of money. Who doesn't know what he's talking about?:

"Money? Perhaps one couldn't say the same there. Money one always wanted. Money, success, the bitch-goddess...that was a permanent necessity. You couldn't spend your last sou, and say finally: So that's THAT!--No, if you lived even another ten minutes, you wanted a few more sous for something or other. Just to keep the business mechanically going, you needed money. You had to have it. Money you HAVE to have. You needn't really have anything else. So that's THAT!--

"Since, of course, it's not your own fault you are alive. Once you are alive, money is a necessity, and the only absolute necessity. All the rest you can get along without, at a pinch. But not money. Emphatically, that's THAT!--"

What is the substance of our lives? God or mammon.

"And I say to you, make friends for yourselves from the wealth of injustice, that when it fails, they may welcome you into the eternal tents" (Luke 16:9).

Money is dishonest. Marx wasn't wrong about that. He just went the wrong way with his insight.

The Christian must transvalue money by "laundering" it through faith: that is, the Christian makes money honest by making it serve charity and mercy. That's the point of the parable. That's what the dishonest steward gets right. That's how we pharisees become Christians.