pope

Show me the [pope’s] money!

Some of you may have already seen this article titled ‘I knew Pope Francis was good, but when I found out everything he did in 2012 I was blown away’ which lists 19 aspects of Pope Francis’ 2013 and some of the impressive things he did [especially perhaps, when viewed through the lens of previous popes]. What was interesting to us at Two Cents was that four of the 19 dealt directly with money-related  ideas and acts: 1. He spoke out against frivolous spending of the church 9. He auctioned his motorcycle to benefit the homeless 11. He condemned the global financial system. 14. He redirected employees bonuses to charity. And three of them a little more indirectly, but conservation and the homeless are both very finance-related areas: 6. He urged the protection of the Amazon Rainforest  8. He snuck out of the Vatican to feed the homeless 18. He invited homeless men to his birthday meal All of this showing quite a strong emphasis on the ongoing intersection that seems to take place between FAITH and FINANCES. Jesus Himself often made specific references to the kingdom of God and the lure of money, reminding us that it would be an area where we would regularly have to make a choice and that it was not possible to reach for both, or worship both...

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Personalizing Poverty

Oftentimes in the debate about “how to help the poor” or “how to end poverty,” one thing that is forgotten is the narrative element; that is, that “the poor” are actually people, with individual struggles, hopes, dreams, virtues and vices. Economic models can be helpful, but oftentimes they break down because it appears that people are behaving ‘irrationally’ – they make decisions that seem self-defeating, and they confound expectations and, with it, the models that created those expectations. Linda Tirado has composed an essay entitled “This is Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense,” which speaks to just this missing element in the discourse. In it, she makes some observations about the mindset that many of the poorer members of our society can find themselves in, and explains why certain seemingly self-defeating choices look like such a reasonable option in the midst of the day to day. It’s a powerful piece, which helped to remind me that  the cause of economic justice is always ultimately the collective struggle of many living and breathing individual...

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pope

Pope slams capitalism as ‘new tyranny’

I’m not going to lie – I really enjoy Pope Francis. So much so that it is strange to me that no-one has started calling him the anti-Christ or the beast yet cos that is what usually happens, right? And to set the record straight, I have not traditionally been “a pope person”. So why do I like this guy? Because in what he says and how he lives his life, he so frequently seems to resemble Jesus. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. Is there going to be some story that surfaces at some time in his time as pope to let us know exactly how that is so?  Very possibly. But in the meantime, in the words he speaks, and the prophetic actions he takes and the tweets that get tweeted on his behalf, there continues to be a very strong Jesus flavour. And so this article where he describes ‘not sharing wealth’ as ‘stealing’ is yet one more example of the character of Jesus that is to be found in this man. Read the whole article – it is a gem. And sits so well alongside another article I read recently that spoke about how the pope was caught sneaking out at night to spend time with the homeless people. Imagine if our pastors started ditching church sermons...

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