So taxes are moreimportantthan most people realize.
8 Millennium Development Goals: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. 2. Achieve universal primary education. The Human Conventional View God created the world as perfect, Emerging View God created the world as good, but 3. Promote gender equality and empower Situation: What but because our primal human beings – as individuals, and as is the story that ancestors, Adam and Eve, did groups – have rebelled against God and we find not maintain the absolute filled the world with evil and injustice ourselves in? perfection demanded by God, like a terrible disease. God wants to save God has irrevocably determined humanity and heal it from its sickness, that the entire universe and all it but humanity is hopelessly lost and women. contains will be destroyed, and the souls of all human beings – except for those specifically exempted – will be forever punished for their imperfection confused, like sheep without a shepherd, wandering farther and farther into lostness and danger. Left to themselves, human beings will spiral downward in sickness and evil. 4. Reduce child mortality. in hell.1 Basic Since everyone is doomed to Since the human race is in such desperate Questions: What hell, Jesus seeks to answer these trouble, Jesus seeks to answer this questions did questions: how can individuals question: what must be done about the Jesus come to be saved from eternal mess we’re in? The mess refers both to answer? punishment in hell and instead the general human condition and its 5. Improve maternal health. Jesus’ message: go to heaven after they die? How can God help individuals be happy and successful until then? Jesus says, in essence, “If you specific outworking among his contemporaries: living under domination by the Roman empire, and divided into various competing sects. Jesus says, in essence, “Other people and 6. Combat HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other How did Jesus want to be among those groups – including your own religious respond to the specifically qualified to escape leaders - are leading you farther and crisis? being forever punished for your farther astray. I have been sent by God sins in hell, you must repent of with this good news – that God loves your individual sins and believe humanity, even in its lostness and sin. that my Father punished me on God graciously invites everyone and diseases. the cross so He won’t have to punish you in hell. Only if you believe this will you go to heaven when everyone else is banished to hell.”2 This is the anyone to question and reject what they have been told and instead follow a new path. Trust me and become my disciple, and you will be transformed, and you will participate in the transformation of the 7. Ensure environmental sustainability. good news. world, which is possible, beginning right now.”3 This is the good news. 1 Of course, there are many modern western non-religious ontologies and framing stories too, plus Eastern ontologies and framing stories – both religious and irreligious. 8. Develop a global partnership for 2 This reflects a Calvinistic Evangelical protestant version of the message. The popular Roman Catholic version might say, “You must believe in the teachings of the church and follow its instructions, especially those regarding sacraments.” The popular mainline or liberal Protestant development
NEEDED: a theology of taxes (and capitalism in general)
HeatSolar Energy Prosperity Resources Waste Equity Security Societal Machine The Ecosystem
Heat Solar Energy ProsperityResources Waste Equity Security Societal Machine The Ecosystem
Heat Solar Energy Prosperity Waste Resources Equity Security Societal MachineOur Equity Systems are under-developed, corrupted,dysfunctional, or dominated by political and ﬁnancialpowers.
Heat Solar Energy Prosperity Resources Waste Equity Security Societal Machine The EcosystemTax reform is essential to a healthy, balanced equity system- transparency, wise policy, progressive rates, values.
HeatSolar Energy Prosperity Resources Waste Equity Security Societal Machine The Ecosystem Framing Story
Heat Solar Energy Prosperity Resources Waste Equity Security Societal MachineThe Failure of the World’s Religionsto provide a framing story capable ofhealing the societal machine - i.e. Framing StoryGood News.
Prosperity: guided by the common good, shalom.Security: “if only you knew what makes for peace.”Equity: Just and wise tax policy to support sustainable shared prosperity and security.
Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? - Amos 8
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practise deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals (flip flops), and selling the sweepings of the wheat.’ -Amos 8
Buying the poor and needy for a pair of flip flops?
The Lord’s Prayer1. Our Father above us and all around us …2. May Your unspeakable Name be revered.
3. Now, here on earth may Your commonwealth come.4. On earth as in heaven may Your will be done.
5. Give us today our bread for today.4. Forgive us our debts* as we forgive.
3. Lead us away from the perilous trial.2. Liberate us from the evil.
1.For the kingdom is yours and yours alone.2. The power is yours and yours alone.3.The glory is yours and yours alone.4.Now and forever, amen.
5. Now, here on earth may your commonwealth come.4. Here on earth may your dreams come true.3. Hallelujah2. Hallelujah1. Amen.
Paul Stiglitz: Of the 1%, By the 1%, and For the 1%Americans have been watching protests against oppressiveregimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of anelite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the peopletake nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequalityeven the wealthy will come to regret.The top 1 percent may have the best houses,educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “theirfate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”
It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in facthappened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly aquarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather thanincome, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life hasimproved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figureswere 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate theingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and tocontend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would bemisguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seentheir incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the declinehas been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. Allthe growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top.In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old,ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Amongour closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. Whilemany of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil,have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve theplight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowedinequality to grow.
It’s no use pretending that what has obviouslyhappened has not in fact happened. The upper 1percent of Americans are now taking in nearly aquarter of the nation’s income every year. Interms of wealth rather than income, the top 1percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life hasimproved considerably. Twenty-five years ago,the corresponding figures were 12 percent and33 percent. One response might be to celebratethe ingenuity and drive that brought goodfortune to these people, and to contend that arising tide lifts all boats. That response would bemisguided.
While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise18 percent over the past decade, those in the middlehave actually seen their incomes fall. For men withonly high-school degrees, the decline has beenprecipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-centuryalone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of incomeequality, America lags behind any country in theold, ossified Europe that President George W. Bushused to deride. Among our closest counterparts areRussia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many ofthe old centers of inequality in Latin America, suchas Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rathersuccessfully, to improve the plight of the poor andreduce gaps in income, America has allowedinequality to grow.
... a modern economy requires “collectiveaction”—it needs government to invest ininfrastructure, education, and technology. TheUnited States and the world have benefitedgreatly from government-sponsored researchthat led to the Internet, to advances in publichealth, and so on. But America has long sufferedfrom an under-investment in infrastructure(look at the condition of our highways andbridges, our railroads and airports), in basicresearch, and in education at all levels. Furthercutbacks in these areas lie ahead.
... when a society’s wealth distribution becomeslopsided ... The more divided a society becomes interms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy becometo spend money on common needs. The rich don’t needto rely on government for parks or education or medicalcare or personal security—they can buy all these thingsfor themselves. In the process, they become moredistant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathythey may once have had. They also worry about stronggovernment—one that could use its powers to adjustthe balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it forthe common good. The top 1 percent may complainabout the kind of government we have in America, butin truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.
The top 1 percent have the besthouses, the best educations, the bestdoctors, and the best lifestyles, butthere is one thing that money doesn’tseem to have bought: anunderstanding that their fate isbound up with how the other 99percent live. Throughout history, thisis something that the top 1 percenteventually do learn. Too late.
Mark 14:7The poor you will always havewith you...
Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 15:Every seventh year you shall grant aremission of debts. 2And this is themanner of the remission: every creditorshall remit the claim that is held against aneighbour, not exacting it from aneighbour who is a member of thecommunity, because the Lord’s remissionhas been proclaimed. 3From a foreigneryou may exact it, but you must remityour claim on whatever any member ofyour community owes you.
4• There will, however, be no one in need among you, because the Lord is sure to bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession to occupy, 5if only you will obey the Lord your God by diligently observing this entire commandment that I command you today. 6When the Lord your God has blessed you, as he promised you, you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. 47
• 7 If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord you God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your needy neighbour. 8 You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. 9Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near’, and therefore view your needy neighbour with hostility and give nothing; your neighbour might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. 48
• 10Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbour in your land.’ 49•