(Reflecting on Luke 16:1-13)
What are we to do with your teaching?
What can you mean with stories like the parable of the dishonest manager?
Why is dishonesty seemed to be praised?
Why does it seem to make it praiseworthy to induce others to be culpable in cheating?
How do you seem to be calling is to self-interest at the cost of others?
We obviously can not take it literally.
We comprehend the exhortation to reject greed for wealth, even if we too often fall to live it and love it.
Your Kingdom and communion is amongst and within us.
The world can and should be different and better.
Wealth should have no meaning for us other than to be a tool for righting injustice and a power to dismantle the systems which result in people being poor.
But let us not dodge the reality that we don’t fully comprehend your way.
Let us continue to struggle to work at what you mean for us,
Not settling for easy answers or convenient and comforting interpretation.
Let us not be surprised that your teaching is shocking and jarring, unsettling us from our status quo.
Keep making it hard for us Christ
That we might grow in faith
And be found in your way of the cross
As true disciples of difference
Being agents of your compassion and communion.
So, may it be.
(Source: Jon Humphries)
Here’s a thought (reflecting on Jeremiah and Psalm readings):
Prof Babu George writes: Believe it or not, as a culture, we subconsciously crave to hear news about disasters. The magnitude of destruction gives us a curious sense of contentment. Maximiliano Korstanje and Prof Babu George, in a research project on this theme, hypothesize that this has a lot to do with cultural darwinism.
Based on prior experiences of dealing with doomsdays, a culture would have developed some kind of agility which gets encoded in the genetic traits of that culture. Continued non-use means that it faces the risk of extinction. This will make that culture extremely vulnerable when a great calamity hits it unexpectedly. So, keeping the cultural genes associated with disasters is critically important for the survival of a culture.
Fundamentally, it is this fascination with disasters that has given birth to the phenomenon of ‘thana-capitalism‘ (where the main commodity is death). Cultural expressions that keep the thana genes alive also include imagined disasters depicted in our various contemporary cultural forms. Also, there is no dearth of consumer products that exploit our anxieties about disasters. While none of us want disasters to hit us individually, keeping alive a sense of death and destruction by liminally going through them is the way our cultures have found to deal with disasters.
See also the book, The Rise of Thana-Capitalism and Tourism, by Maximiliano E. Korstanje. A precis on Academia is here:
“We live in a society that is bombarded by news of accidents, disasters and terrorist attacks. We are obsessed by the presence of death. It is commodiﬁed in newspapers, the media, entertainment and in our cultural consumption.This book explores the notion of an emergent class of “death seekers” who consume the spectacle of the disaster, exploring spaces of mass death and suffering. Sites that are obliterated by disasters or tragic events are recycled and visually consumed by an international audience, creating a death seekers economy. The quest for the suffering of others allows for a much deeper reinter- pretation of life, and has captivated the attention of many tourists, visiting sites such as concentration camps, disasters zones, abandoned prisons, and areas hit by terrorism. This book explores the notion of the death seekers economy, drawing on the premise that the society of risk as imagined by postmodern sociology sets the pace to a new society: Thana-Capitalism. The chapters dissect our fascination with other’s suffering, what this means for our own perceptions of the self, and as a tourist activity. It also explores the notion of an economy of impotence, where citizens feel the world is out of control.This compelling book will be interest to students and scholars researching dark tourism, tourist behaviour, disaster studies, cultural studies and sociology”.
Philosopher Maximiliano Korstanje coined the term thana-capitalism to refer to a climate of social Darwinism aimed at fostering the survival of the fittest. In this climate of struggle, only few win and the rest loses. It explains our obsessions for consumers’ news or images related to terrorism attacks, trauma-scapes, disasters and so forth. Korstanje writes that the society of risk has set the pace to a new society thana-capitalism, where the main commodity is death. Not only we consume death everywhere in cultural entertainment industry, but we reinforce our superiority by witnessing the others’ suffering. This allegory is based on the myths of Noah’s Ark, which is considered by Korstanje as the first genocide. In this mythical event God divided the world in two, victims and witnesses.
This logic of supremacy of those who lives over who dies is reinforced by Christ’s crucifixion. Nowadays, a new segment of tourists travel to zones of mass death known as areas of Dark or Thana Tourism. Since in secularized societies death is a sign of weakness, consuming the other’s death alludes to hopes for visitors to be in trace towards “the hall of chosen peoples”.[Korstanje M. E (2016) The Rise of Thana Capitalism and Tourism, Abingdon, Routledge; Korstanje M E & George B (2016) “Craving for the consumption of suffering and Commoditization of Death: the evolving facet of Thana Capitalism”. In Terrorism in the Global Village: how terrorism affects our lives. Korstanje M (ed), CHAPTER 4. New York, Nova Science Publishers]