Friday, October 02, 2009

Capitalism and the Intangibles

Capitalism can infect our sense of truth and can blind us to the most important things in life--that which cannot be measured in terms of profitability, capital gain, and quantitative analysis. The intangible values of love, community, peace, compassion, and incarnation do not exist in the capitalist imagination. The conclusion we should draw from this, however, is not that capitalism should be replaced but that it should be subverted. As the first Christians subverted the imagination and the images of the Roman propaganda machine, we Christians must subvert the imagination of the State in which we find ourselves. We must learn to live in the system but not of it. We must learn to manipulate the system in such a way that our living, though it may be within capitalism, looks quite different. We must learn to reject the systems imagination and it's blindness to the intangibles and to the need of the world and to embrace God's imagination--the Kingdom of God.

The only way for a follower of Christ to thrive in a capitalist system is to think nothing like a capitalist and to instead be compelled by sharing and to see and to feel the need of the world we find ourselves in. Every system calls us to entrust it with our faith. The system insists that if you'll only trust it, it will work itself out. But God's dream is bigger than any system. God's dream is "not of this world" and yet it invades our logic and comes to bare in our reality here and now.

We must learn to love again and to live anew with true value for the intangibles... without trying to satisfy those values through measurable means and materials. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, small, cheap, and quite worthless in measure. But it bursts forth and brings new life in an incalculable fashion.

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