I have a reflection on Luke 16:1-13, the Parable of the Unjust Steward, over on Political Theology Today.
Jesus depicts wealth as if a false god, competing with God for our worship and service (verse 13). The power of money in our lives and societies is ample proof of the aptness of such a representation: our love of money and the urge to get more is so often the force that makes our world move. Money and the imperative of economic expansion so often hold our political imaginations in thrall.
Jesus also depicts money as a bearer of injustice. With more wealth can come a greater degree of unwelcome complicity in unjust structures and exploitative dynamics. We desire more money, yet we cannot escape being implicated in the systemic unrighteousness and injustices of our economy as we become more invested in it. It is impossible to remove the whiff of unrighteousness from our money: injustice clings to it, try as we might to escape it.
The moral characterization of money itself as dishonest and unjust is an unsettling one for many of us. Money is absolutely integral to our way of lives and the suggestion that there is a rottenness that persists at the root of our society is one at which we instinctively recoil.
Read the whole thing here.