Posts from category "Spiritual Direction"

Oikonomia: Some Thoughts About Global Economics From a Christian Perspective


Some Thoughts About Global Economics From a Christian Perspective

By John Lackey

Claude Monet sometimes engaged in “serial painting.”  That is, he painted different versions of the same subject, from different angles or different lights.  For example, he did three paintings from a balcony of the Savoy Hotel on the river Thames, from three main viewpoints.  In each painting he had a different end in view.

Similarly, these days those in power regard the global economy from different perspectives, with different ends in mind.  Some regard the global economy from a socialist perspective, some from a capitalist perspective, some from an imperialist perspective, most in the U.S. from a market perspective.

Then what is the Christian perspective on the global economy?  For my understanding, the answer is spelled out in Douglas Meeks’ book, God The Economist. Meeks points out that the Greek word from which we derive “economy” is “oikonomia,” a compound of “oikos”, household, and “nomos”, law or management.  The Christian perspective on the global economy begins with the notion of God as The Economist, and, says Meeks, “God’s purpose is to transform the world into a household in which all of God’s creatures can find abundant life” (p.24).  Meeks acknowledges that “there is, of course, no scientific economic theory in the modern sense in the Bible, even though the Bible is centrally concerned with economy” (p.3).

I contend that in this perspective on the global economy lies the best direction for building a just, peaceful, and humane global economy.

Global Economics From a Christian Perspective

Global Economics From a Christian Perspective

by John Lackey

This report is about economics wherever you find it!  Research by a Scripps Howard News Service reporter found that more than 50 American billionaires have received government farm subsidies from a program created during the Great Depression intended to help small farms survive.  At least 56 of the richest people in the country have pocketed more than two million dollars from this source.  Included are people like banker David Rockefeller, Sr., hotel magnate William Barron Hilton, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

 Also six senators shared more than $700,000 in subsidies over a decade.  These people are not engaged in agricultural pursuits.  True, these handouts are legal, but it’s still not right!  Furthermore, the majority of farm subsidies that reach those who farm go to the huge corporate farms, with little help for the small family farm.  Obviously changes are needed in the policies of the Agriculture Department!

And what is the Christian perspective on this story?  In a word, greed!  This is spelled out in I Tim.6:9,10:  “Those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY is a root of all kinds of evil…in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith.” Those who pursue wealth as their chief end in life are never satisfied!  And so wealthy Americans put their hands out to receive that which was intended for those who need it.

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is the ancient practice of spiritual friendship and mentoring in which one spiritual seeker joins another on his or her spiritual journey, giving counsel and encouragement along the way. It is a discipline practiced in many religions and cultural traditions including shamanism, Christian mysticism, Islamic Sufi practice, and Hindu Gurus. All are considered to be valid attempts to follow a path which leads to a deep experience of God’s transcendent presence.


Compiled by James L. Foster

The following lists of books have been culled from the compiler's reading over a number of years.   The process is an ongoing one as many new and significant books in the area of Christian spirituality are being published annually.  Will we ever exhaust the subject?  I think not.  For all that has been written, the vastness of "inner space" is still largely unexplored territory.  I suspect this list will have to be updated many times in the years to come. 

Books specifically on spiritual directors and spiritual direction 

Barry, William A. and William J. Connelly.  The Practice of Spiritual Direction.  Seabury Press,   1984.

Bohler, Carolyn Stahl. Opening to God: Guided Imagery Meditation on Scripture.   Upper Room Books, 1996.

Bumpus, Mary Rose, and Rebecca Bradburn Langer. Supervision of Spiritual Directors: Engaging in Holy Mystery.   Morehouse, 2005.

Carroll, L. Patrick and Katherine Marie DyckmanInviting the Mystic, Supporting the Prophet.  Paulist Press,  1981.

Cornett, Carlton. The Soul of Psychotherapy: Recapturing the Spiritual Dimension in the Therapeutic Encounter.  Free Press, 1998.

Culligan, Kevin G., ed. Spiritual Direction: Contemporary Readings.  Living Flame Press, 1983.

Devers, DorothyFaithful Friendship.  Washington, D.C.: Church of the Savior, no date.

Donovan, PeterInterpreting Religious Experience.  Crossroad Publishing Co., 1979.

Dubay, Thomas.  Seeking Spiritual Direction: How to Grow the Divine Life Within.  Servant Publications, 1994.

Edwards, TildenSpiritual Friend: Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction.  Paulist Press, 1980.

Evoy, John J.  Psychological Handbook for Spiritual Directors. Sheed & Ward, 1988.

Fischer, KathleenWomen at the Well: Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Direction.  Paulist Press, 1988.

Ginn, RomanAdventure in Spiritual Direction: A Prophetic Pattern.  Living Flame Press, 1979.

Gratton, CarolynGuidelines for Spiritual Direction.  Dimension Books, 1980.

Isabell, DamienThe Spiritual Director: A Practical Guide. Franciscan Herald Press, 1976.

Jones, AlanExploring Spiritual Direction: An Essay on Christian Friendship. Seabury Press,  1982.

Kelsey, Morton TCompanions on the Inner Way: The Art of Spiritual Guidance. Crossroad Publishing Co., 1984.

LaPlace, JeanPreparing for Spiritual Direction.  Franciscan Herald Press, 1975.

Lebacqz, Karen, and Joseph D. Driskill. Ethics and Spiritual Care: A Guide for Pastors, Chaplains, and            Spiritual Directors. Abingdon Press, 2000.

Leech, KennethSoul Friend: The Practice of Christian Spirituality.  Harper & Row, 1977.

Liebert, Elizabeth. Changing Life Patterns: Adult Development in Spiritual Direction.  Chalice Press, 2000.

May, GeraldCare of Mind, Care of Spirit: Psychiatric Dimensions of Spiritual      Direction. Harper & Row, 1982.

Merton, ThomasSpiritual Direction and Meditation. The Liturgical Press, 1986.

Nemeck, Francis Kelly and Marie Theresa CoombsThe Way of Spiritual Direction.  Michael Glazier, 1985.

Neufelder, Jerome M. and Mary C. Coelho, eds.  Writings on Spiritual Direction.  Seabury Press, 1982.

Nouwen, Henri J. M.  The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. Doubleday, 1972.

Nouwen, Henri.  Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith.  HarperOne, 2006.

Peterson, Eugene H.  The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction. William B. Eerdmans          Publishing, 1993.

Ruffing, JanetUncovering Stories of Faith: Spiritual Direction and Narratives.  Paulist Press, 1989.

Sudbrack, JosefSpiritual Guidance.  Paulist Press, 1983.

Sullivan, John, ed.  Carmelite Studies: Spiritual Direction.  ICS Publications, 1980.

Thornton, MartinSpiritual Direction.  Cowley Publications, 1984.

Trotter, Jesse M.  Christian Wholeness: Spiritual Direction for Today.  Morehouse-Barlow, 1981.

Tyrrell, Bernard J.  Christotherapy II: A New Horizon for Counselors, Spiritual Directors and Seekers of Healing          and Growth in Christ.  Paulist Press, 1982.

Vanderwall, Francis W.  Spiritual Direction: An Invitation to Abundant Life. Paulist Press, 1981.

van Kaam, AdrianThe Dynamics of Spiritual Self-Direction. Dimension Books, 1976.

Woodbridge, Barry AA Guidebook for Spiritual Friends.  The Upper Room, 1985.


Other relevant books for spiritual directors

Barry, William AGod and You: Prayer as a Personal Relationship. Paulist Press, 1987.

Bondi, Roberta C. To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church.  Fortress Press, 1987.

Bidwell, Duane R. Short-Term Spiritual Guidance.  Fortress Press, 2004.

Boisen, Anton. Out of the Depths.  Harper, 1960.

Bonhoeffer, DietrichSpiritual Care, trans. by Jay C. Rochelle.  Fortress Press, 1987.

Brennan, Patrick J.  Spirituality for an Anxious Age: "Into Your Hands...". The Thomas More Press, 1985.

Brewi, Janice and Anne BrennanCelebrate Mid-Life: Jungian Archetypes and Mid-Life Spirituality. Crossroad  Publishing Co., 1988.

Burrows, Ruth.  Fire on the Earth: Interior Castle Explored. Dimension Books, 1976.

Burrows, Ruth.  Guidelines for Mystical Prayer.  Dimension Books, 1976.

Christensen, Bernhard.  The Inward Pilgrimage: Spiritual Classics from Augustine to Bonhoeffer. Augsburg, 1976.

Clemmons, William P.  Discovering the Depths.  Broadman Press, 1976; rev. 1987.

Cole, Robert. The Spiritual Life of Children.  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

Dalrymple, JohnLetting Go in Love: Reflections on Spiritual Formation. Michael Glazier, 1988.

Dell, Mary Lynn and Allan M. Josephson.  Religion and Spirituality. W. B. Saunders, 2004.

Dent, Barbara.  My Only Friend Is Darkness: Living the Night of Faith.  Ave Maria Press, 1988.

Dubay, Thomas.  Prayer Primer.  Charis Books, 2002.

Ellor, James W., Susan H. McFadden and Steven Sapp. Aging and Spirituality: The First Decade. American  Society on Aging, 1999.

Faucett, Robert and Carol AnnPersonality and Spiritual Freedom.   Doubleday Image, 1987

Fitchett, George. Spiritual Assessment in Pastoral Care: A Guide to Selected Resources.  Journal of Pastoral  Care Publications, 1993.

Foster, Richard, Richard JCelebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.  Harper & Row,  rev, 1988

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald.The Three Ages of the Interior Life.  Tan Books and Publishers, 1999. 

Grant, W. HaroldFrom Image to Likeness: A Jungian Path in the Gospel Journey.  Paulist Press, 1983.

Greeley, Andrew MEcstasy: A Way of Knowing.  Prentice-Hall, 1974.

Green, Thomas H.  When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings.  Ave Maria Press, 1979.

Groeschel, Benedict JSpiritual Passages: The Psychology of Spiritual Development.  Crossroad Publishing  Co., 1983.

Groeschel, Benedict JStumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones: Spiritual Answers to Psychological Questions.      Paulist Press, 1987.

Hardy, Alister.  The Spiritual Nature of Man: A Study of Contemporary Religious Experience.  Clarendon, 1979.

Harkness, GeorgiaThe Dark Night of the Soul.  Abingdon Press, 1945.

Hart, Thomas. Hidden Spring: The Spiritual Dimension of Therapy . Augsburg/Fortress, 2002.

Holmes, Urban TSpirituality for Ministry.  Harper & Row, 1982.

Johnson, Ben CampbellTo Pray God's Will: Continuing the Journey. The Westminster Press, 1987.

Johnson, Ben CampbellTo Will God's Will: Beginning the Journey. The Westminster Press, 1987.

Johnston, WilliamBeing in Love: The Practice of Christian Prayer. Harper & Row, 1989.

Jones, AlanSoul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality.  Harper & Row, 1985.

Jones, AlanPassion for Pilgrimage: Notes for the Journey Home.  Harper & Row, 1989.

Jones, Cheslyn, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Edward Yarnold, eds.  The Study of Spirituality.  Oxford, 1986.

Keating, Charles J.  Who We Are Is How We Pray: Matching Personality and Spirituality. Twenty-Third          Publications, 1987.

Kelcourse, Felicity Brock, ed. Human Development and Faith: Life-Cycle Stages of Body, Mind, and Soul.  Chalice Press, 2004

Kelsey, Morton T.  Christo-Psychology.  Crossroad Publishing Co., 1982.

Kelsey, Morton TThe Other Side of Silence. Paulist Press, 1976.

Kelsey, Morton TTranscend: A Guide to the Spiritual Quest. Crossroad Publishing Co., 1981.

Klenicki, Leon and Gabe HuckSpirituality and Prayer: Jewish and Christian Understandings.  Paulist Press,1983.

Kraft, Charles H. and David M. DeBord. The Rules of Engagement: Understanding the Principles that Govern the Spiritual Battles in Our Lives. Wagner Publications, 2000.

Larranaga, IgnacioSensing Your Hidden Presence: Toward Intimacy with God, trans. by John W. Diersksmeier and Rigoberto Coloca-Rivas.  Doubleday Image, 1987.

Leech, KennethTrue Prayer: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality.  Harper & Row, 1980.

Lyall, David. Counseling in the Pastoral and Spiritual Context.  Open University Press, 1995.

Maloney, George AAlone with the Alone.  Ave Maria Press, 1982

Maloney, George A., ed.  Pilgrimage of the Heart: A Treasury of Eastern Spirituality.  Harper & Row, 1983.

Martin, Ralph.  The Fulfillment of All Desire. Emmaus Road Publishing, 2006.

Maslow, Abraham HReligions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Viking, 1964.

May, Gerald GAddiction and Grace.  Harper & Row, 1988.

Moore, SebastianLet This Mind Be in You: The Quest for Identity through Oedipus to Christ. Winston Press,  1985.

Muto, Susan.  A Practical Guide to Spiritual Reading. Dimension Books, 1976.

Nelson, James BThe Intimate Connection: Male Sexuality, Masculine Spirituality.  The Westminster Press, 1988.

Nemeck, Francis Kelly and Marie Theresa Coombs.  The Spiritual Journey: Critical Thresholds and Stages of  Adult Spiritual Genesis.  Michael Glazier, 1987.

Nouwen, Henri J. MThe Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry.  Seabury Press, 1981.

Nouwen, Henri J. MWith Open Hands.  Ave Maria Press, 1972.

O'Connor, PeterDreams and the Search for Meaning.  Paulist Press, 1986.

Pable, Martin WA Man and His God: Contemporary Male Spirituality.  Ave Maria Press, 1988.

Pennington, M. BasilCentered Living: The Way of Centering Prayer.  Doubleday & Co., 1986.

Peterson, Eugene H.  Eat This Book: A Conversation of the Art of Spiritual Reading.  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ.  Co., 2006.

Ratcliff, Donald and Marcia McQuitty, eds. Children's Spirituality: Christian Perspectives, Research, and Applications. Cascade Books, 2004.

Reinhold, H. A., ed.  The Soul Afire: Revelations of the Mystics. Doubleday Image, 1973.

Robinson, EdwardThe Original Vision: A Study of the Religious Experience of Childhood.  Seabury Press, 1983.

Ross, MaggieThe Fire of Your Life: A Solitude Shared.  Paulist Press, 1983.

Ross, MaggiePillars of Flame: Power, Priesthood, and Spiritual Maturity. Harper & Row, 1988.

Sanford, John AMinistry Burnout. Paulist Press, 1982.

Savary, Louis M. and Patricia H. BerneKything: The Art of Spiritual Presence.  Paulist Press, 1988.

Senn, Frank, ed.  Protestant Spiritual Traditions.  Paulist Press, 1986.

Shannon, William HSeeking the Face of God.  Crossroad Publishing Co., 1988.

Shuman, Joel James and Keith Meador. Heal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine, and the Distortion of Christianity. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Sontag, Frederick. Love Beyond Pain: Mysticism within Christianity. Paulist Press, 1977.

Steere, Douglas.  Together in Solitude.  Crossroad Publishing Co., 1982.

Stoter, David J. Spiritual Aspects of Health Care. Mosby, 1995.

Tanquerey, Adolphe.  The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Tan Books and           Publishers, 2001.

Thompson, Helen. Journey Toward Wholeness: A Jungian Model of Adult Spiritual Growth. Paulist Press, 1982.

Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. New World Library, 1999.

Ulanov, Ann and BarryPrimary Speech: A Psychology of Prayer. John Knox Press, 1982.

VandeCreek, Larry. Spiritual Needs and Pastoral Services: Readings in Research. Journal of Pastoral Care Publications, 1995.

Wakefield, Gordon S., ed.  The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality.  The Westminster Press, 1983

Welch, JohnSpiritual Pilgrims: Carl Jung and Teresa of Avila. Paulist Press, 1982.

Wendland, Barbara and Larry W. Easterling. Spiritual Family Trees: Finding Your Faith Community's Roots. Alban Institute, 2001.

Westerhoff, John H.  Building God's People in a Materialistic Society.  Seabury Press, 1983.

Wiederkehr, MacrinaA Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary. Harper & Row, 1988.

Williams, H. A.  The True Wilderness.  Crossroad Publishing Co., 1982


Journal articles relevant to spiritual direction

Some of the following articles were written with pastoral counseling in mind rather than spiritual direction.  In each instance, however, the material is just as relevant for spiritual direction as for counseling and therefore warranted inclusion.

Carlmelite Digest Kozlowski, Joseph.  "A Spiritual Director for All Time for All."  Autumn 1989.

Contemplative Review Corrigan, Winifred.  "Initial Metanoia in Spiritual Direction." Summer 1979.

Frison, Basil.  "Spiritual Direction as an Opening to the Experience of God."  Summer 1980.

Giallanza, Joel.  "Integration in Spiritual Direction."  Winter 1980.

Giallanza, Joel.  "Spiritual Direction According to St. John of the Cross." Fall 1978.

Giallanza, Joel.  "Spiritual Direction According to St. Teresa of Avila."  Summer 1979.

Page, Rose.  "Direction in the Various Stages of Spiritual Development."  Fall 1979.

Seelaus, Vilma.  "The Spirituality of the Novice Director as Minister of Formation."  Fall 1978.

Human Development (journal) Barry, William A.  "Breaking the Cycle of Evil."  Vol. 10, # 3 (Fall 1989)

Barry, William A.  "Interpretation of Experiences Reveals Beliefs." Vol. 9, #2 (Summer 1988)

Barry, William A.  "Missing the Meaning of Religious Experience: Hermeneutic of Experience Is an Enticing Trap."  Vol. 8, #1 (Spring 1987).

Barry, William A.  "The Religious Dimension of Experience." Vol.7, #2 (Summer 1986).

Barry, William A.  "Supervision Improves Ministry."  Vol. 9, #1 (Spring 1988).

Birmingham, Madeline and William J. Connolly.  "The Art of Spiritual Direction."  Vol. 8, #1 (Spring 1987).

Birmingham, Madeline and William J. Connolly.  "Praying for God's Sake." Vol. 9, #1 (Spring 1988).

Birmingham, Madeline and William J. Connolly.  "Talking to God." Vol. 10, #3 (Fall 1989).

De Blassie, Richard R.  "Intimacy in Pastoral Care."  Vol. 7, #2(Summer 1986).

Juliano, Carroll and Loughlan Sofield.  "Ministry Demands Intimacy."  Vol. 9, #1 (Spring 1988).

Kenel, Mary Elizabeth.  "Women Religious as Mentors."  Vol. 10, #2 (Spring 1989).

Nicolosi, Joseph and Jo Rotunno.  "The Desert Experience: Exploring the Psychospiritual Dimensions of          Personal Change."  Vol. 7, #3 (Fall 1986).

Pelton, Robert S.  "Continuing Religious Formation: Report on a Recent Survey on Men in the Director's Role."           Vol. 7, #3 (Fall 1986).

The Journal of Pastoral CareBarnhouse, Ruth Tiffany.  "Spiritual Direction and Psychotherapy." Vol. 33, #3 (September 1979), pp. 149-163.

Bohler, Carolyn J.  "The Use of Storytelling in the Practice of Pastoral Counseling."  Vol. 41, #1 (March 1987),          pp. 63-71.

Bondi, Roberta C.  "The Abba and Amma in Early Monasticism: The First Pastoral Counselor?"  Vol. 40, #4 (December 1986), pp.311-320.

Ford-Grabowsky, Mary.  "The Fullness of the Christian Faith Experience: Dimensions Missing in Faith          Development Theory." Vol. 41, #1 (March 1987), pp. 39-47.

Hart, Thomas.  "Counseling's Spiritual Dimension: Nine Guiding Principles."  Vol. 43, #2 (Summer 1989),           pp. 111-118.

Hemenway, Joan E.  "Four Faith Frameworks."  Vol. 38, #4 (December 1984), pp. 317-323.

Holland, J. T. "Jesus, A Model for Ministry." Vol. 36, #4 (December 1982), pp. 255-264.

Howe, Leroy T.  "Dream Interpretation in Spiritual Guidance."  Vol. 40, #3 (September 1986), pp.262-272.

Hoyer, Lee, Melvin R. Jacobs and E. Mansell Pattison.  "Later-Life Struggles: Psychological/Spiritual          Convergence."  Vol. 41, #2, (June 1987), pp. 141-149.

Morgan, Oliver J.  "Elements in a Spirituality of Pastoral Care." Vol. 43, #2 (Summer 1989), pp. 99-109.

Robbins, Martha.  "The Desert-Mountain Experience: The Two Faces of Encounter with God." Vol. 35, #1 (March          1981), pp. 18-35.

Van Gelder, David W.  "A Case Study of Demon Possession."  Vol. 41, #2 (June 1987), pp. 151-161.

Journal of Psychology and Theology Bunker, Diane E. “Spirituality and the Four Jungian Personality Functions.”, Vol.19.#1, 1991:pp.26-34.

Leadership (journal)Peterson, Eugene H.  "On Finding a Spiritual Director."  Vol. 4, #2 (Spring 1983), pp. 38-42.Peterson, Eugene H.  "Practicing and Malpracticing the Presence of God."  Vol. 5, #4 (Fall 1984), pp.94-99.

Pastoral Psychology (journal) Fairchild, Roy W.  "Guaranteed Not to Shrink: Spiritual Direction in Pastoral Care."  Vol. 31 (Winter 1982),           pp. 79-  95.

Quarterly ReviewFairchild, Roy W.  "The Pastor as Spiritual Director."  Vol. 5 (Summer 1985), pp. 25-35.

Religious Education (journal) Robinson, Edward A.  "The Experience of Transfiguration."  Vol. 80 (Spring 1985), pp. 246-254.

Religious Studies (journal) Overall, Christine.  "The Nature of Mystical Experience."  Vol. 18 (March 1982), pp. 47-54.

Review and Expositor Leonard, William J.  "Contemporary Spirituality in Historical Perspective."  Vol. 76 (Spring 1979), pp. 241-255.

Review for ReligiousO'Regan, John.  "Staging, Typing, and Spiritual Direction."  July/August 1983.Stanminski, Robert.  "Conversion, Pastoral Counseling, and Spiritual Direction."  May-June 1984.

Spiritual Life (journal) Barres, John.  "Mysticism, the Heart of Practical Religion: The Spiritual Theology of Evelyn Underhill."  Fall 1988.

Bourdon, Mary.  "The Spiritual Direction of the Adolescent." Summer 1982.

Corrigan, Winifred.  "Group Spiritual Direction in the Follow-up." Spring 1983.

Devoy, Juliana.  "Spiritual Direction: Being Artist with God." Winter 1988.

Feeney, Kevin.  "A Letter to Teresa of Jesus (from a 20th Century Spiritual Director)."  Winter 1988.

Kilduff, Thomas.  "Spiritual Direction and Personality Types." Fall 1980.

LaRochester, Barbara Jean.  "Black and Gifted: Our Ministry to Spiritual Direction."  Summer 1984.

Morgan, Thomas J.  "A Cognitive Model for the Directed Retreat." Winter 1983.

Neophitos, Angelo.  "Toward a Theology of Friendship."  Spring 1975.S

ellner, Edward C.  "Soul Friend: Guidance on Our Sacred Journeys." Summer 1983.

Stratton, Robin.  "The Ministry of Listening."  Winter 1985.

Spirituality Today (journal) Gula, Richard M.  "Using Scripture in Prayer and Spiritual Direction."  Winter 1984.  Entire issue, March 1981.

Weavings Entire issue.  Vol. II, #4 (July-August 1987)Palmer, Parker J. “All the Way Down; Depression and the Spiritual Journey.” (September/October 1998)  pp.32-41. 

Some Thoughts About Global Economics From a Christian Perspective

Some Thoughts About Global Economics

From a Christian Perspective

Compassionate LeadershipBy John Lackey

Recently World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was charged with conflict of interest involving his girlfriend’s generous pay deal.  The 24-member board had to decide whether Wolfowitz “will be able to provide the leadership” to ensure that the Bank achieves its mission of fighting poverty around the world through loans and grants.  The 185-nation World Bank provides more than $20 billion a year for projects that include building dams and roads, upgrading education, and fighting diseases. (Reported in the Knoxville News-Sentinel and Associated Press releases)

Obviously, organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are invaluable tools for eradicating world poverty.  But Wolfowitz illustrates what happens if those who head such organizations are not so compassionate for the world’s poor that they cannot rise above self-interests and greed.

We are reminded of Jesus’ saying, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom” (Matthew 19:23, 24).  This is so, says the Christian perspective, because we humans have a bent toward centering our lives in our selves.  We are so easily governed by our self-interests, which easily degenerate into greed.  That’s why Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2).  We humans need conversion or transformation if we are to become truly human.  We need changed persons to head institutions like the World Bank—men and women who have demonstrated genuine compassion for the poor that is greater than the temptation to act on self-interests.