Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Money: the (bad and the) good side

   Have you followed the story from the campus of the University of Missouri? It started back in August with racial slurs, inappropriate actions, some really disgusting stuff, and finally a failure at the top of the University's leadership to respond, all brought about protests calling for action and justice. Before it was over, it seemed like everyone was protesting:

  • the Student Body president
  • ad-hoc student groups frustrated over racial tensions
  • a coalition of on-campus Jewish groups
  • nine faculty Deans of various schools/departments on campus
  • the University Faculty Senate
  • people speaking on behalf of the Republican party
  • people speaking on behalf of the Democratic party
  • on November 2, one student went on a hunger strike
  • elected members of the Missouri State Legislature

But, nothing really happened. Until the threat of the school losing money entered the conversation.
   On Saturday, November 7, thirty football players announced they were boycotting team events (practice, games, etc) until a resolution was delivered. The next day, November 8, the entire team made it clear that they stand united: no football until people resign. So, after more than two months of trouble and protests, which included literally tens of thousands of people, the President and Chancellor both resigned within hours. It is unfortunate that it is widely-held that two people losing their jobs and status was what right looked like. I am glad that the right thing was done. I am not glad that it took the potential loss of millions of dollars of football revenue to finally prompt it. It is clear that money held sway in bringing about a resolution. Sports is powerful, but what does it say when it takes the threat of cancelling a football game before the right thing is done? Money has power, because we let it. [I don't blame the football team - they used the money they generate for good. I worry that we would not see the role we have in propping up an industry that wields such power through profit.]
   The scriptures are clear, it is not money that is the root of all evil, but the love of money (see 1 Timothy 6:10).
   How do you use money? For good? Do you invest in others? Do you give money away as a sign of your belief in God's ongoing abundance? Do you save money as an antidote against the deadly illness of over-consumption? Do you have a healthy relationship with money, or does it control you in ways that are not healthy? Money is neutral - it is the place that we give it in our life and the ways that we use it that cause it to be good or bad. The Ten Commandments start with, "You shall have no other gods before me."
   Grace and peace, Scott

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