legal. tender.

25 01 2017

There isn’t much tenderness in public conversation. Human lives are reduced to economic units. Economic units are

Given value. Have value taken away.


Some people have larger economic value. They tend to be in charge. Society values economic value. It proves something about being successful. In collecting units.

Those units are described as money. Legal tender. But there’s not much tender about it  in public conversation.

Being every job lost or gained, there are people with a story.
Behind every business growing or struggling, there are people with a story.
Behind every Foodbank client, there are people with a story.
Behind every Brexit promise of prosperity or poverty, there are people with a story.
Behind every cleaner struggling on a ‘living wage’ cleaning the offices of the wealthiest bankers, there are people with a story.
Behind every ‘workplace assessment’ there are people with a story.
Behind every commuter’s season ticket, there are people with a story.

When talking about what is legal tender we need to talk more tenderly. Because it is never just numbers, economics, figures. It’s part of someone’s story.
The economy is not an ‘it’, it is ‘us’.
It is not over there, it is in here.
It exists only as a collection of human relationships and decisions.

We are not subservient to it, we are inherent within it.
We are relational humans, not neutral units.

We do well to remember this, in a world that separates people from the economy we serve, and prizes the collecting of units above all else. It is legal tender, so let’s tender it, legally, with tenderness.

Because people are not units to be

We should give each other value, not take it away.




trusting the peanuts

22 09 2010

Somehow Jesus has got a reputation for being all about a wishy washy inoffensive kind of love that strokes kittens, opens doors for old ladies and is about as powerful as a doormat. Not quite what he had in mind when he challenged ordinary people that lust is as bad as adultery and anger as bad as murder. What he had in mind was something altogether more powerful, more challenging, more distinctive. A revolution of holiness that wasn’t all about outward signs and climbing ladders of loveliness but radical change that began at the heart – in the heart – and moved slowly outwards. Not the other way around. And when we are changed that change affects everything and one of the least popular things to change is the way we handle money.

Jesus shows us that the way we see money and possessions shows us where our love is. And the principles are the same for those on bankers bonuses or income support. How we handle money shows how deeply our hearts have been changed. You cannot serve god but be held captive by desire for money and possessions on the side; neither can you serve money and try to placate God by a little church attendance or some loose change on the side. And yet…

if you are fiddling books or benefits or buying dodgy goods…
you are still loved

if you are grasping and clutching for more things so much that they define who you are…
you are still loved

if you are simply being tight with your money…
you are still loved.

if you are involved in adultery, or prostitution, or bullying, or abuse, or petty crime, or anger…
you are still loved

But you must change. We must change.

Although we struggle and we fail, although we like our possessions and we might fiddle the benefits or the books, there is always, always room for grace. That doesn’t mean that God is nice and turns a blind eye and we all breathe a sigh of relief – no, it means when we stop what we are doing and when we repent, turn around, there is total forgiveness. Hard choices. Distinctive choices.

How much better to fall fully into the loving arms of God, to know that he sees everything and you don’t have to try and hide things like the toddler who hides the chocolate behind his back thinking mummy can’t see, forgetting about the mess around his lips? Because God is love. Distinctive love. God’s love challenges our deepest desires and means that we cannot help but be distinctive in the way we are with our money, from the  ‘murky city‘ to the struggling family.

As faith begins as a mustard seed so trust begins with peanuts.

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