by Christopher Harbin

This content is part of a series.

Reversal in Flames (18 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part 2
Christopher B. Harbin
Luke 16:19-31

Some topics we consider taboo. They are not for public conversation. At least that is the message we tend to get in polite society. While the church is not the place to discuss partisan politics, there are aspects of the gospel that have a direct impact on the political and economic structures of the world in which we live. To be faithful to Jesus is not always to be faithful to the social norms, patterns, and taboos of the world around us.

Economics is of those issues we don't readily talk about, especially in church. It is one of those themes we have been told does not make for polite conversation. We don't talk about our incomes. We don't talk about the economic needs of the poor and the political pressures behind those needs. We may talk about feeding people who are hungry, but we tend to remain silent on the causes of their hunger. As Hélder Câmara, a Catholic priest in Brazil, famously said (often misattributed to Oscar Romero) ''I feed the poor, I'm called a saint. I ask why the poor have no food, I'm called a communist.'' Raising those questions makes us uncomfortable. It calls attention to the injustice of political and economic structures. It calls us to task in ways that might interfere with the status quo.

Traditionally, we talk a lot in religious Christian circles about heaven and hell, but we pay little heed to Jesus' comments about how we are to respond to poverty and those ensnared by it. We give ignore Jesus' instructions regarding the way we are to care for the disadvantaged. One would almost think Jesus had nothing to say on the topic for listening to most Sunday sermons. In fact, today's passage is one of those we categorize as Jesus teaching directly on concerns of eternity and hell in particular. It is much more than that, however. It is also about economic injustice.

Luke 16 comes at the end of a larger section beginning with chapter ...

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