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Showing posts from February, 2016

The Economics of Good and Evil

Genesis 3.1-19, Luke 4.1-13 A new theory has taken the normally dull world of economics by storm. There's even been a lecture tour about it where the author cycles onto the stage playing a swanee whistle. However, if you want the more conventional version, the best-selling book about it can be downloaded onto a tablet or Kindle for about £4. The author is someone called Tomas Sedlacek [Sedlachek], who is supposedly one of the five hottest minds in economics, so you may already be thinking, 'Well that’s probably not for me!' except that the title of his book is 'The Economics of Good and Evil' and he argues that economics isn't really a science, governed by lots of impenetrable mathematics and dry as dust laws, but more like a story or a parable which uses ideas and pictures from everyday life to try to make sense of the world. When he looks for inspiration, Sedlacek turns to the Bible, to myth, religion and ethics, because he believes economics is really about t…

The hot and bothered Jesus

Matthew 4.1-11, 16.21-23 Have you ever had a day like this?
This is Jesus, but not as we normally know him. This isn’t gentle Jesus meek and mild. This is Jesus looking hot and bothered, or tired and frazzled, or a bit down in the dumps, or just having a bad day - or is it a bad couple of days, or a bad month, a bad 40 days even? The sun is beating down. He’s sat on some uncomfortable looking boulders, probably baking in the heat. Either he needs a couple of paracetamol, perhaps even my favourite tipple, paracetamol and codeine, or he’s having a bad hair day, or both! I like this picture because I think it reminds us what temptation really looks like. It’s not like a pantomime villain creeping up behind us to whisper wicked enticements in our ear. It looks like this. Someone wrote to me to thank me for helping her get a job. She said she would be calling round to the office with a bottle of champagne for me. I said, ‘Drink the champagne yourself with your boyfriend and your mother, becaus…

Rethinking the meaning of marriage

Hosea 2.16-20, Matthew 1.1-16 / John 2.1-11 This year the Methodist Church is having a rethink about marriage. Unless it’s actually someone’s wedding day marriage isn’t something we normally talk about much, except at church council meetings when we're deciding what fees to charge. Perhaps that's because it can be a touchy subject. The Babylonians had the first written laws governing marriage and already the reason they had for making those laws was to sort out conflicts between the marriage partners.
In ancient Greece marriage didn't have the same legal force as it had in Babylon, it was a private arrangement between two people, or between their families. But it was still important, as a way of deciding which of a man's  children would inherit his property. A woman could have ever so many children but, if she wasn’t acknowledged to be their father's wife, they would have to make their own fortune.
But the ancient Greeks weren’t just preoccupied with money and inherit…