I am delighted to be joining the JustMoney Movement in the new role of ‘Movement Builder’. This is an exciting role to take on with such a hardworking team, building a network of ‘JustMoney Champions’: activists committed to seeking a greener, fairer future through the just use of money. This network is a key part of making the ‘Movement’ part of our name a reality, broadening and deepening our engagement with you, our supporters.
I have long been interested in how religion and politics interact, both in theory and in practice. It seems to me that both disciplines attempt to answer the questions, ‘why is the world the way it is?’ and ‘how can we make it better?’. This led me to study politics at university, before joining the Jubilee Centre to explore what a biblical approach to social reform might look like. From there, I worked for the ecumenical campaigning group JPIT and then set up the Methodist Church’s Ukrainian refugee resettlement scheme.
Whilst religion and politics ultimately alight on different solutions and emphases, I believe that Christians have a great resource in applying biblical wisdom to the challenges we face in our common political life – particularly in the arena of economics.
This may be a novel claim for some Christians, and certainly for many economists! I will not attempt here to devise a detailed macroeconomic strategy for HM Treasury based on the book of Leviticus (although there are plenty of interesting principles there). At a conceptual level, we can understand economics as measuring the flow of resources – primarily, but not exclusively, represented by monetary transactions. Christians believe that all of life is a gift from a good God to be shared, stewarded, and used in the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth as in heaven, which gives us a different perspective on how we use those resources.
1 Timothy 6:10 famously teaches that the love of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil. Intuitively, money represents power. As with all power, it can be used to break things down, or if harnessed wisely, to build up. If we understand money as a gift to do God’s work in the world, and avoid the idol-worship of Mammon, we can use it as a tool for justice.
Many Christians give 10% of their income as a tithe to the Church. We want to start a conversation about what happens to the other 90%.
Every choice we make to give, spend or save our money has an impact in multiple places along the line – whether through investment portfolios, supply chains or pollution, as well as positive investment in sustainable and social enterprises and non-profits. If we want to submit our whole lives to the will and values of a God of justice, then we must learn to submit these things too.
Most of us are not lawmakers or CEOs, but when we look at the resources of power we have available, money is among our greatest potential assets for good and bad. This understanding also helps us to focus our efforts onto politicians and businesses to lobby for a more just use of money.
Many of us want to see change in the world but don’t know where to start. In my previous work, I have seen the power of people taking those first steps of action on an issue they care about. Once they get a positive response and proof that they can affect some change, they get the bug and keep working for more.
This is the effect we want to have with our movement of JustMoney Champions: Christians in churches across the UK who are trained, resourced and connected to one another, advocating for a just use of money in their churches and communities. My prayer is that we are able to invest in and encourage you, our supporters, to begin taking action for a fairer, greener future where you are.
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