For the Sabbath of May 25, 2013, I listened keenly to a discussion on the practice of Adventism by Africans and Caribbean folk/nationals. It was noted that while both groups shunned jewellery and make-up wearing (to a greater extent than North American Adventists), both Caribbean and Africans emphasize fancy dress, attire, hats, accessories and even cars. One of the persons speaking made mention that where she comes from, "Adventists are known by how they dress".
Yet, in my own experience, the ideas apply not only to Adventists, but to most Christian denominations that I am acquainted with. Most Christian denominations that I have fellowshipped with put some amount of pride in the material things and/or outward appearance. Make-up, jewellery, accessories, fancy dress/attire, and fancy hairstyles are more or less a feature of every institutionalised Christian denomination that I have visited. These are in contrast to the Biblical admonition given by Apostle Peter to women:
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, (1 Peter 3:3-5; New International Version)
Yet, most of the assault on my theology comes from this book by Bruno Dyck entitled Management and the gospel: Luke's radical message for the first and twenty-first centuries:
Dyck does a critical inquiry into management and the dominant viewpoints on the teachings of Jesus in Luke. His radical interpretations have revealed to me how Christians today have not rightly interpreted the practice of Christianity as taught by Jesus. My take home points from the book so far are:
- Christians must not practice acquisitive economics (seeking to increase our money and wealth), but rather, we should practice redistributive economics (sharing wealth with others). For example, a Christian must not have money put down in the bank to earn interest. Instead, we must redistribute the money that we do not have immediate need for to help those who have immediate needs to be addressed.
- We must challenge the social economic order of the day that allows individuals to heap riches upon riches, through making debtors of others. We must also challenge income inequality and the situation where there are those that have more than they need and still hoard resources, while ignoring to help others who have dire immediate needs.
If there is one thing that I most value about Canadian culture is this tendency to live by those two principles, whereas my own Jamaican culture tend to justify inequality and not sharing wealth. Yet, I find that Christianity as practiced today by multitudes, tend to do the same: buy and wear things that they do not need, adorn their facilities and institutions with things that are unnecessary, and ignore the needs of members within who really need help. May God make these lessons stick with me and you for the future and make us like his son Jesus, to challenge the establishment and also to make the personal adjustment in our thoughts and attitudes.
Dyck, B. (2013). Management and the gospel: Luke's radical message for the first and twenty-first centuries. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.