Ched Myers is an activist theologian who has worked in social change movements for forty years. With a Masters degree in New Testament Studies, he is a popular educator who animates scripture and issues of faith-based peace and justice. He has published more than 100 articles and more than half-dozen books, most of which can be found at www.ChedMyers.org. He and his partner Elaine Enns, co-direct Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries (www.bcm-net.org) in the Ventura watershed of southern California.
Posts By This Author
To Serve and Preserve
The Bible calls us to dominion over creation. Or does it?
A Few of My Favorite Things
Stories to Live By
A Living Example
Brazilian Catholic archbishop Helder Camara brought a "preferential option for the poor" to the center of Christian social thinking.
'Behold, The Treasure of the Church'
Jesus' New Economy of Grace
The Hebrew Bible's vision of Sabbath economics contends that a theology of abundant grace and a communal ethic of redistribution is the only way out of our slavery to the debt system, with its theology of meritocracy and private ethic of wealth concentration. The contemporary church, however, has difficulty hearing this as good news since our theological imaginations have long been captive to the market-driven orthodoxies of modern capitalism.
Our fears have persuaded us that the biblical Jubilee is at best utopian and at worst communistic. Yet we find it awkward simply to dismiss the biblical witness, so an alternative objection inevitably arises, as if on cue: "Israel never really practiced the Jubilee!" If genuine, and not simply a strategy of avoidance, this challenge is best addressed by considering both the "negative" and "positive" evidence.
By "negative" evidence I mean the fact that Israel's prophets repeatedly and relentlessly criticized the nation's leadership for betraying the poor and vulnerable members of the community. This strongly suggests that the Sabbath vision of social and economic justice remained a measuring stick to which they could publicly appeal.
There can be no question that the Sabbath disciplines of seventh-year debt release and Jubilee restructuring were regularly abandoned by those Israelites who wished to consolidate social advantages they had gained. The historical narratives in the Hebrew Bible indicate that as the tribal confederacy was eclipsed by centralized political power under the Davidic dynasty, economic stratification followed inexorably. Indeed, the prophet Samuel warned that a monarchy would be linked intrinsically to an economy geared to the elite through ruthless policies of surplus-extraction and militarism (1 Samuel 8:11-18).
God Speed the Year of Jubilee!
The Flutter of History
Who Will Roll Away the Stone?
Looking for Justice, Holding the Peace
In the aftermath of the LA rebellion, hope for change comes not from outside but from those with the least to lose.