WHETHER WE admit it or not, money dominates our daily lives.
Much of our waking hours revolve around the pursuit and use of money. Most of us have to work in order to afford the basic necessities of life.
Nothing, it seems, is left untouched by money, and our relationship with it often depends on our circumstances. Money, or the lack of it, often dictates the big and small choices we make: where and how we live, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the way we get around, the company we keep, and yes, even the way we feel about ourselves. Money often determines whether one can have access to quality education and adequate health care, both of which are critical to human development.
And yet, when it comes to money, most of us operate on autopilot, mindless consumption now being the dominant response in Western societies.
Beyond worrying whether there's going to be enough to pay for mounting bills or for one's impending retirement, and preparing one's income taxes, most of us don't give much thought to money and its wider impact.
Some of us may wonder why a select few can live in the lap of luxury or why there are homeless people in our midst, but we may not necessarily question the economic conditions that give rise to these situations. Or, we may chalk it up to life being unfair.
It's time to think more deeply about money, according to the Anglican Church of Canada's faith, worship, and ministry committee in the 2013-2016 triennium, which released On the Theology of Money: A Resource for Study and Discussion last fall. (See http://www.anglican.ca/resources/theology-of-money/.)
The core of the report is Non Nobis, Domine (Not to us, Lord), a theological reflection written by the Rev. Maggie Helwig, which evolved out of many discussions, reflections and study by the Task Force on the Theology of Money. The committee, struck by some of the questions around economic and social inequality raised in 2011 by the Occupy Wall Street movement, created the task force. The movement began in New York City with the political slogan "We are the 99%," highlighting how wealth and power are concentrated in just one per cent of the U.S. population. It spawned similar movements in 80 countries around the world, including Canada.
The responses of the churches to the movement were varied, the document notes, "from welcome to wariness to warrants to keep off property." However, it adds, "Many in the church leadership immediately recognized that, though many Occupiers were...