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“Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace”

February 13, 2017

John Nightingale sends a review of “Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace” 


welby-coverThis Lent Book written by the Archbishop of Canterbury is timely and relevant. I recommend it as for individuals and it would be excellent if people could share their reactions to it in groups.

Justin Welby is concerned that in the last few years money has become the measure of all things and has distorted values in the process. He contrasts the selfishness, calculation and illusion of control, when financial procedures become dominant, with the generosity shown by God in the hope that we will accept it and share with others.

The titles of his chapters aptly set out what he is going to cover: what we see we value; what we measure controls us; what we have we hold; what we receive we treat as ours; what we give we gain; what we master brings us joy. These themes are illustrated by Bible passages, particularly from the life of Jesus, by questions to the reader and by contemporary examples, for example the inability of GDP to measure the value of voluntary work or the needs of future generations.

Here his experience is invaluable. Though he disclaims expertise in theology and economics he has been active in business and church circles and has experienced the tensions between them. At times he gives us personal examples, for instance being frustrated when otherwise good decisions at his workplace  were often challenged by the tax department because they reduced the efficiency of, in his opinion unproductive, tax planning.

Readers are called on to examine their individual priorities and their common life as church members. They are also invited to be concerned for the common good; he briefly discusses a number of contemporary issues: the banking crisis, the need for credit unions, the reform of the tax system and the value of international aid and relief. Here he gives excellent introductions which can readily be followed up elsewhere.

What I appreciate is his evident sincerity and the simplicity and vividness of his language. One feels invited to go on a pilgrimage, joining up with a fellow pilgrim who knows he is still learning but is more experienced than oneself.

“Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace” by Justin Welby, Bloomsbury, 2016, £9.99

John Nightingale: Jubilee Debt Campaign, Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, West Midlands New Economics group.




One Comment leave one →
  1. March 28, 2017 11:10 am

    Presuming this space refers to the Justin Welby book reviewed above, I can only say that the ideas outlined by John NIghtingale in his review provide a guide to what is one book one must have. Like those who are calling for a new world order, the author is outlining in a most convincing way, why this is becoming such an urgent matter, not just from a practical point of view where the urgency is obvious, but from the perspective of a leader of a Christian faith that should be taking a lead in finding the pathway through the global problems confronting each and every person inhabiting this globe. And not just this globe, our human home, but the entire cosmos of which this world is just a part. Thank you for the information and guide to a worthwhile publication (Patricia Kelly – Australia)

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