Thursday, March 03, 2022

What are you afraid of? That your theology might be defective?

“Simply said, ” David Bentley Hart observes, “the earliest Christians were communists . . . , not as an accident of history but as an imperative of faith.” And if time and circumstances meant that not all subsequent Christians evinced communism as fully and intensely as the earliest, a call toward a vision of service to the common good echoed through the patristic period, founded on a truth taught by Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose of Milan, and John Chrysostom: “The goods of creation belong equally to all, and that immense private wealth is theft—bread stolen from the hungry, clothing stolen from the naked, money stolen from the destitute.”

Nor did such hopes, dreams, and practices cease with the patristic age. We can think of monasticism and mendicancy as well as such present-day movements as the Catholic Workers, the Bruderhof and the (usually Protestant) New Monastics. Such “purist” movements have great value and pertinence, as does the less “purist” yet still significant giving in face of need—serving at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, donating cars and groceries—that happens day to day and week to week in ordinary urban, suburban, and rural churches.— Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age, 109–10

<idle musing>
I recall when I was (much) younger and the threat of world Marxism (called Communism, with an upper case C) was a very real threat. The attempts by the Western church to rewrite the early chapters of Acts was almost comical. What were they afraid of? That they might be required to share their wealth?

Just an
</idle musing>

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