Rich Man and Lazarus

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Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:44 am

Last night, I read Jesus' parable of "The Rich Man and Lazarus." As I thought on this, my mind kept asking, "Isn't our current trickle-down economics exactly what the rich man in Jesus story was practicing?" How does this strike you?
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Haruo » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:50 pm

Of course. Reaganomics is nothing if not biblical.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby William Thornton » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:33 pm

Well, AOC has prounounced judgment on capitalism. The fault seems to be the creation of greater wealth in varying degrees for greater numbers of people than other systems.

If my pastor offered up this parable as some kind of economics lession, I'd be polite and sit still for it.
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Nathan v. David

Postby Haruo » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:27 pm

There's a strong sermon on animal rights hidden in the first eight or so verses of 2 Samuel 12.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:02 pm

William Thornton wrote:Well, AOC has prounounced judgment on capitalism. The fault seems to be the creation of greater wealth in varying degrees for greater numbers of people than other systems.

If my pastor offered up this parable as some kind of economics lession, I'd be polite and sit still for it.


William, trickle down economics is not anything of which I believe the most ardent supporters of capitalism can be proud. It is the fulfillment of the Powell Manifesto to give the rich a bigger and bigger share of the economy while taking as much as possible from those below the top few percentage points of wealth. It also has almost no compassion for "the least of these," IMHO. I have never quoted AOC and doubt I will. She is the Democratic version of DJT.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:25 pm

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a Democrat on the left side of her party. So she attracts the attention of conservative Republicans who want to point to her as an example of what the Democrats are up to. It's been pretty clear that the electoral fortunes of the GOP have waned considerably since 2016, an election they won based mostly on election rules and not votes. So they are dragging out their "shore up the base" rhetoric, mainly the "How in the world can you support a party that kills babies?" and all that goes along with that, and they dig up the politicians among the Democrats whose views contrast the most with some of their own. Keep in mind that in a District where Democrats hold a 29% advantage in voter registration, Ocasio-Cortez won her seat by 63% of the vote over her Republican opponent. Her presence among the Democrats is only a demonstration of the diversity of their party, not of some monolithic perspective on economics. I don't agree with all her views, but there are a couple of things about her I like, including her position on universal health care and that her social media presence is as large as that of Trump and she frustrates the daylights out of him by refuting and countering his idiotic tweets. At any rate, her views on the left are not anywhere as scary or extreme as any one of a dozen GOP reps you could find who are card carrying, flag waving members of the Ku Klux Klan.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby William Thornton » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:22 pm

Sandy pronounces a cakewalk for the dems in 2020...but I hear that candidates actually have to get votes.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:41 pm

William Thornton wrote:Sandy pronounces a cakewalk for the dems in 2020...but I hear that candidates actually have to get votes.


Haha. The Repulicans have worked very hard to make it possible for their candidates to win without actually having to get votes. If that had been the requirement back as far as 2000, we'd never have had a majority Republican legislature or a Republican president this century. If elections are won simply by candidates getting votes, then the Democrats are going to win in a cakewalk in 2020.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:38 am

Sandy wrote:...a dozen GOP reps you could find who are card carrying, flag waving members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Any proof of that claim?
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Haruo » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:34 pm

Rvaughn wrote:
Sandy wrote:...a dozen GOP reps you could find who are card carrying, flag waving members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Any proof of that claim?

Second the motion, call for the question, etc. I have heard of a couple maybe three (US Reps, not counting state legislators) whose public positions on certain issues sound Klanlike, but I haven't actually heard anything about evidence of actual membership in the KKK. Naming names would be helpful.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Sandy » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:43 pm

I am making that statement using the same context Republicans use when referencing Democrats as "socialists." Even Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders, who self-identify using the term, are not "socialist" in the Marxist political and economic sense of the Russian, former Eastern European, Chinese and Venezuelan brands of the mix. There have been some members of Congress who were klansmen, Louisiana's David Duke being perhaps one of the most recent. Making the leap to the klan is the same thing the GOP does to Democrats and socialism and that's my point.

There are several Republicans whose associations and connections with the alt-right and whose positions in recent campaigns could be interpreted as sympathetic to white supremacists or white nationalism. Other than Trump himself, Steve King probably tops that list.

https://prospect.org/article/gop-now-wh ... ytime-soon
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Rvaughn » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:31 pm

Rvaughn wrote:Any proof of that claim?
Haruo wrote:Second the motion, call for the question, etc. I have heard of a couple maybe three (US Reps, not counting state legislators) whose public positions on certain issues sound Klanlike, but I haven't actually heard anything about evidence of actual membership in the KKK. Naming names would be helpful.
Sandy wrote:I am making that statement using the same context...
In other words, "No."
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:43 am

I'm intrigued that my question about the application of scripture descended to GOP racism. I've noticed lately that an honest question about scripture or doctrine seems to regularly descend to mere politics. I have no doubt of American racism in many quarters. My own prejudice these days is against prejudiced people.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:21 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Last night, I read Jesus' parable of "The Rich Man and Lazarus." As I thought on this, my mind kept asking, "Isn't our current trickle-down economics exactly what the rich man in Jesus story was practicing?" How does this strike you?
Dave Roberts wrote:I'm intrigued that my question about the application of scripture descended to GOP racism. I've noticed lately that an honest question about scripture or doctrine seems to regularly descend to mere politics. I have no doubt of American racism in many quarters. My own prejudice these days is against prejudiced people.
Perhaps it is a fact that most discussions related to politics default to the talking points of the two major parties -- socialism, racism, and so on. While your initial post was about the application of scripture and did not include racism, it was framed on a political topic -- its relation to trickle-down economics.

For my part, I don't understand that "our current trickle-down economics [are] exactly what the rich man in Jesus story was practicing." To better discuss it, I'd need to know what you feel constitutes "our current trickle-down economics." In my understanding trickle-down economics is a theory that tax cuts for the wealthy, corporations, etc. stimulates the economy when they increase their buying, spending, hiring, which will benefit the country as a whole; that their prosperity will "trickle-down" to others. Don't know if that is what you mean, but I don't see that system or any details like that in the story. How the rich man was rich and such details is an unknown factor. What is known is that he is indulgent, selfish, and callous. Nothing "trickled down" from him to Lazarus. Jesus is condemning covetousness, claiming to serve God while serving mammon (money), justifying one's self before men, and highly esteeming things that are an abomination to God (cf. verses 13-15, for example). People may presume that having the "good things" in this life are a sign of God's favour, but they will be sadly deceived.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:06 pm

Really there is no way to separate politics and theology unless your theology calls on your to disengage yourself from society. But if you believe that your theology requires you to try to make the world different/better than there is just no way to avoid politics.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:45 pm

My question revolves around the fact that the rich man was expected to share his wealth to care for the poor man at his gate. His condemnation is based on the fact that he did not. Like today's "trickle down" theory, it did not work because the flaw in our human nature is that we prefer to enhance our personal position, like getting our names on the Forbes' List of Billionaires. His plea is most often read as a personal plea for a drop of water. What is frightening is the dialogue about his brothers, they who could also not see the need. My question is whether this parable offers an indirect condemnation of the system as well as of the personal actions of the rich man. Indeed, can support of the rich man continue to create the ego to close our hearts to the needs of those around us?
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:51 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Indeed, can support of the rich man continue to create the ego to close our hearts to the needs of those around us?


I don't think we can/should. But I feel like our society has turned into an increasing divide between the haves and have nots. The middle class is disappearing because we are near forgetting that having a good country to live in means you have to contribute to the general good and not just the individual good.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:21 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:My question revolves around the fact that the rich man was expected to share his wealth to care for the poor man at his gate. His condemnation is based on the fact that he did not. Like today's "trickle down" theory, it did not work because the flaw in our human nature is that we prefer to enhance our personal position, like getting our names on the Forbes' List of Billionaires. His plea is most often read as a personal plea for a drop of water. What is frightening is the dialogue about his brothers, they who could also not see the need. My question is whether this parable offers an indirect condemnation of the system as well as of the personal actions of the rich man. Indeed, can support of the rich man continue to create the ego to close our hearts to the needs of those around us?
I don't see anything about a "system" in the parable, but an individual whose heart was crass and hard. "Trickle-down" is an economic theory that some people hold, and some people think will work. Whether or not it actually does work is not an indictment of the person who holds the theory. That person might be loving, giving, caring, & give to the poor/charity/etc AND think the idea is a good theory. Another person might reject the "trickle-down" theory AND be loving, giving, caring, & give to the poor/charity/etc. A third might reject the "trickle-down" theory AND be selfish, crass, hard-hearted, and self-indulgent. I don't see how the story of the rich man and Lazarus offers an indirect condemnation of "the system of the rich man" when it says nothing of his "system." It speaks only of his personal actions.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:51 am

I found a book in a hidden corner of my library that I read 25 years ago that probably just now incubated into my thinking. It is "The Rich Christians and Poor Lazarus" by Helmut Gollwitzer, a German theologian and ethicist. I agree with individual responsibility, but Gollwitzer argues from the parable for our influence on society. In other words, to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," is not just a prayer for Jesus' return but it is reporting for duty to create a more just structure in this world until he comes.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Haruo » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:29 am

Dave Roberts wrote:I found a book in a hidden corner of my library that I read 25 years ago that probably just now incubated into my thinking. It is "The Rich Christians and Poor Lazarus" by Helmut Gollwitzer, a German theologian and ethicist. I agree with individual responsibility, but Gollwitzer argues from the parable for our influence on society. In other words, to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," is not just a prayer for Jesus' return but it is reporting for duty to create a more just structure in this world until he comes.

Indeed, but as Robert points out, there are generous, self-sacrificing believers on both sides of, e.g., the question of the effects of trickle-down theory, and depending on what one believes about that and a host of other issues and theories, supporting trickle-down may be a step in the direction of a more just structure. Questions about coercion and property rights (the inherent injustice of taxation, e.g.) also play into this.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:42 am

Haruo wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:I found a book in a hidden corner of my library that I read 25 years ago that probably just now incubated into my thinking. It is "The Rich Christians and Poor Lazarus" by Helmut Gollwitzer, a German theologian and ethicist. I agree with individual responsibility, but Gollwitzer argues from the parable for our influence on society. In other words, to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," is not just a prayer for Jesus' return but it is reporting for duty to create a more just structure in this world until he comes.

Indeed, but as Robert points out, there are generous, self-sacrificing believers on both sides of, e.g., the question of the effects of trickle-down theory, and depending on what one believes about that and a host of other issues and theories, supporting trickle-down may be a step in the direction of a more just structure. Questions about coercion and property rights (the inherent injustice of taxation, e.g.) also play into this.


I agree that there are many who subscribe to this who are gracious and generous people, but the question becomes, "Does this exist because it appeals to our greed at the top to get more and then let it drip down to those below us on the economic ladder. Is its basic premise that of feeding our greed?
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Haruo » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:23 am

I think the whole capitalistic system depends on greed for its vitality, and that cooperation should be preferred over competition, but I don't know of an equitable and peaceable way to bring the shift about. And we live in the twilight of labor, unless climate change is even more devastating than predicted. I do think the renewed emphasis in Republican ruling circles is fueled in part by the hopes of some who don't publicly acknowledge the real and imminent effects of climate change to arrange to survive the demise of life on earth. I don't think there will be enough lunar, Martian, or orbital sustainable colonies to accommodate the bulk of the population. I wonder how the colonial economies will be organized. But I don't expect to live to find out.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:17 am

Dave Roberts wrote:I agree that there are many who subscribe to this who are gracious and generous people, but the question becomes, "Does this exist because it appeals to our greed at the top to get more and then let it drip down to those below us on the economic ladder. Is its basic premise that of feeding our greed?


It feels like it to me. If the disparity between wealthy and the average worker was staying about the same it would be one thing, but we are seeing a greater and greater concentration of wealth at the top with little wage growth for the middle class or the poor. It gets worse and worse and anytime someone shows concern about it you get accused of trying to start a class war.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:23 am

By the way, my view is that the US church has swung too far towards Christian morality and virtue only being about individual actions when it appears to me that the Bible often speaks of the role of the entire Church in society and not just individuals. This individualism seems to me to be a peculiarity of US Christianity rather than something found in scripture.
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Re: Rich Man and Lazarus

Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:57 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:I agree that there are many who subscribe to this who are gracious and generous people, but the question becomes, "Does this exist because it appeals to our greed at the top to get more and then let it drip down to those below us on the economic ladder. Is its basic premise that of feeding our greed?


It feels like it to me. If the disparity between wealthy and the average worker was staying about the same it would be one thing, but we are seeing a greater and greater concentration of wealth at the top with little wage growth for the middle class or the poor. It gets worse and worse and anytime someone shows concern about it you get accused of trying to start a class war.

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