Today we are making available the first of ten installments to our new online video series for Economics in the Gospels.
Treasure, Gold, and Money
A trillion here, a trillion there, before long that adds up to real money! That is a not too tongue-in-cheek assessment of our current economic situation.
Money was similarly front and center in Roman times and society too. Their interest in controlling their money supply had developed over at least 700 years by Jesus’s time. Add 2,000 years and you have a Federal Reserve and other central banks manipulating and trying to keep our worldwide economic system on an even keel. The Gospel writers do not reference economists, monetary nor fiscal policies, but they had coins.
Gold is an early economic occurrence in the Gospels, and we are still extremely interested in the supply and value of gold today as a cornerstone of the entire worldwide economic system. Many imagine we are still on the gold standard, that there is something backing up the trillions being printed in the proverbial basement of the Fed. But the money we use nowadays is largely paper and bytes with nary a coin from gold nowadays, though it was not that long ago that we did. Paper money in 1st century Jerusalem? Not so much. Imagine Jesus upsetting the table of the credit card issuers?!
All-in-all this first video installment is a great way to kick off our course and I have seen it in action with my students in Kathmandu, who especially love the Q&A with the Ladies from St. Luke’s.
Unfortunately, we start with a fairly long-winded introduction, but it does lay out the background of the study and the economics centered/non-theological context we are going for. The Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Wedding Banquet make it worthwhile I hope. But if not just sneak ahead thirteen minutes or so and you will be ready to go.
All videos in the course follow the study closely which can be found on Amazon by clicking here. To read along we have also posted the corresponding excerpts from the study further on in this blog.
For more information about the course click here.
To view the video click here.
For the study text click here.
Economics in the Gospels Video Course – Introductory Excerpt: Gold, Four Drachma Coins, and the Prodigal Son
One of the study’s first passages describes the gifts, especially gold, to the baby Jesus in Matthew 2:11. Notice the 15 second countdown clock in the bottom righthand corner which gives the class time to read the passage and/or pause the video until done, knowing that the lecture will resume when the clock reaches zero. A bit of commentary and Q&A comes next. In this excerpt we go from “Gold” to the “Four Drachma Coin” to the Prodigal Son parable. To follow along with the study excerpts read more.
Bewildered by economics? Love the Gospels? How about mixing a little modern micro & macro (economics) in with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s?
This study is close to ten years in the making and hopes to help bridge the gap between Jesus the man and his more metaphysical side. Exploring the world as Jesus might have – through His eyes - and lips. Not so much as the Son of God, but rather just a son. Then relating that point of view back to our current times – to our personal lives. It’s amazing how one can see themselves living quite well with just the things (and services, of course) we find there.
As one would expect there are some things missing - like wheeled vehicles for instance. Not a one is found - not a chariot, no wagons, no carts, nothing with a wheel at all. Not surprising when one considers that Jesus generally got around one of two ways that we can see: by boat or by foot (or the occasional colt/donkey).
The study scours the Gospels for economic activity and presents it over 20+ chapters (lots of whitespace) in a quick read that lays out familiar Gospel passages that just happen to be packed with economic references. For instance:
Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot, people were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building…Luke 17:28
The Eco In the Gospels Project (EcoInTheGospels.org)
We’ve been using the study in the classroom at the National Theological College in Nepal since 2016. Teaching economics is generally not a high priority for future clergy so learning through the Gospel passages in a quasi-classroom/-fellowship atmosphere makes it feel like they aren’t learning anything at all! Just reading the Gospels.
The same thing happened with the Ladies of St. Luke’s classes last summer, which were videotaped over two months, and which are the basis for the study’s video course.
We look forward to bringing this new way of examining the world’s most well-known stories, from a fresh lens - a theology infused Econ 101 if you like.
We can use a bit of Zoom fellowship as the course is made available over the coming months, one segment at a time beginning July 12th .
The EITG project includes the following:
The following is an excerpt from a 2014-2015 study I edited while at Yale Divinity School entitled Gospels on Ferguson. Then, as now, trying to say something useful for the discussion related to George Floyd is all too similar to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO in 2014.
If Jesus walked into Ferguson today…
The heavy presence of police and soldiers would have been familiar to Him (Matthew 8:13; Luke 23:36; John 18:12; John 18:18)
The governor as well (Matthew 27:14)
He would have had choice words for the lawyers (Mark 12:38)
And likely the clergy (Luke 19:37-40)
The tools of the riots would have been familiar to Him (John 18:3; Luke 22:49; Mark 14:43)
He might have blessed the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)
He might offer troubling predictions (Luke 19:41-44)
He might have preached forgiveness (Matthew 5:39; Matthew 6:14)
He might have told all to love each other (Luke 6:27; Matthew 22:39)
He might have prayed (Matthew 6:5)
He might have told his followers to put their sword back in its place (Matthew 26:52)
He might have talked about a house divided against itself (Matthew 12:25)
He might have said not to Judge (Luke 6:37)
He might have come by boat up the Mississippi then walked the road to Ferguson…
Nov 26, 2014
The So FLo FLoods Competition Event was held live via Facebook Live on May 29, 2020 and included the premiere of the 56-minute version of So FLo FLoods, Q&A with our panel from the film, and the awards presentation. To see the actual Facebook Live event click here.
Congratulations to our winners:
1st Place and $250
My Miami Beach in 100 Years
by David Tamen
2nd Place and $100
by Nikita A.G.LV.-Mitic
3rd Place and $50
A Flavor of the Past
by Juliet Pizano
For all the entries click here.
We were also excited to see several “stars” from the film and other luminaries for the Q&A including:
Thanks to all that participated.
See you next year!
It’s almost here!
On Friday, May 29th at 2:30 in the afternoon we will be celebrating the excellent entries from Miami Beach High students to the So Flo Floods competition.
We are very excited to announce several “stars” from the film will be available for the Q&A after the screening of the new 56-minute version:
We are also excited to have these luminaries as well:
And most of all, our entrants!
Our So FLo FLoods Award Screening Event for Beach High students will take place online via Facebook Live and Zoom on May 29th at 2:30PM. Please join us for this special screening of the new 56-minute version of So FLo FLoods while we celebrate the students who have submitted entries for the competition.
We will have live online award presentations to winning students by award sponsor Pearl Benefits, with Q&A afterwards with representatives from the film.
Winners receive: $250-1st place; $150-2nd place; $50-3rd place and will receive assistance to further develop their project over the rest of the school year.
Please join us by going to TheoEco.org/Competition for the Facebook Live link on May 29th!
Almost five years in the making, Piles of Bricks (Revisited) documents Nepal’s rebuilding efforts from late 2015 to present.
A proper premiere is not possible under current conditions, but we surely can stream it instead - as planned – today, Saturday April 25th 2020 at 8 PM from Kathmandu (10:15 AM in NYC) when producer Amit Nepali will stream it directly from Jubal Studio in Lalitpur.
At just under an hour and 30 minutes the film is still finalizing cuts, reviewing captions, and adding titles and voiceovers. But virus or not we were determined to get this film out for the people of Nepal on the quakes’ 5th anniversary - and so we are.
Be part of this and share with your friends. It may prove a gracious diversion as we keep our distance, wash our hands, and pull together with others worldwide, especially those still very much struggling in Nepal. They have come through so much – and are dealing with the Coronavirus like the rest of us - indoors. Something we all have in common it appears.
To join the event, which includes and introduction an Q&A with the producers please go to our event page where we broadcast the film via Facebook Live at 8 PM Kathmandu time. To go to the Event Page click here.
Additionally, we are making replays of the screening available through the rest of April as a remembrance and celebration of all those that have suffered and continue to persevere in Nepal.
Please go to PilesOfBricks.com for more.
Part of our four-part blog series Piles of Bricks’ Priests: The Hindu, the Anglican, and the Ex-Shaman in which we talk about the film through the eyes of the priests in the film in their non-clerical roles - as survivors of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. We are looking forward to introducing Pastor Lilam and his inspiring story in our upcoming Piles of Bricks (Revisited) being streamed for the first time on Saturday, April 25th from Lalitpur at 6 PM, and again that evening at 8 PM NYC time.
The Ex-Shaman - Ps. Lilam Bahadur Rana Magar, Gorkha. Perhaps the most intriguing for folks that have grown up in American Christendom is the example of Pastor Lilam in Gorkha, ground zero of the 2015 'quakes. He is a former shaman/witchdoctor who converted to Christianity when his spells no longer worked, once upon a time.
By Steve Richards
We first meet up with the Pastor in our mini-documentary Piles of Bricks – Villages shot in 2015 when we treked to Gorkha, the epicenter of the earthquake. Using a combination of vans, 4WD vehicles, and leg power, we survey damage in his village ranging from cracks to cave-ins.
The film, shot in the midst of the fuel shortage caused by the Indian blockade, we see long lines queued up for petrol, packed buses with passengers riding on the roof, and commercial trucks giving passengers a ride at no charge.
In 2015 the pastor was not expecting much from the government. By the end of the film we are pleasantly surprised that he had received his promised three Lakh (300,000 rupees, or about $3,000) from the government and was much recovered. This is not a universal story amongst the villagers we talked with including those in Lele and Harisiddhi.