One of my favorite theologians, F.D. Maurice, was a tenacious writer and humble follower of Jesus. Instead of identifying sin as an individual’s stumbling in their life with Christ, Maurice identified sin as a corporate affair. Whole societies, not just individuals, sin against God and their neighbors. He says,
“One deep radical disease has been infecting our two countries [the United States and England], and during the last two centuries has been entering deeper and deeper into our constitution till it has now nearly reached the vitals of both. Will not everyone say that it has been MONEY-GETTING? (emphasis original)”
What Wall Street wants is not always what Jesus wants.
Moreover, this is a slap in the face to the American myth of the “self-made man.” That myth goes like this: if you work really hard and are a nice person you will find happiness and success. That is the gospel of western society – a gospel which I knew and espoused for many years.
Then I encountered the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Christ, the goal is not to getting, but giving, self-sacrifice, and self-donation. The Christian life is a pouring out of yourself: your money, your passions, your love, your energy, just as Christ poured out his own blood. And here’s the catch – when we empty ourselves for Christ, we find that Christ fills us.