CONSUMERIST CHRISTMAS RAZZMATAZZ AND THE JUBILEE ECONOMICS OF JESUS CHRIST

It’s Christmas season, all over, again! 2019 Christmas rushing to 2020 new year! Though the Philippines is drowning and Australia is on fire, it’s grand showtime all over the world! Jubilation songs and dances flow freely among all humanity of good will. On surreal world television, arctic reindeers strut to Christmas songs and Antarctic penguins waltz to their own carols. Virtual ‘Jingle bells’ jingle all the way to everywhere! Christmas trees around the world alight in well-choreographed turns. Hongkong Christmas tree comes alight, just after Sydney; then Mumbai; then Bethlehem; then Cape town; then Berlin; then Dakar; then Rio; then Los Angeles; then Honolulu, after unmentioned places around the world. Father Christmas; happy and jolly, is abroad; spreading goodwill to all humanity. And gifts and more gifts for all all-around! Fancy and fancier clothes that create a global masquerade parade, in which all masquerades and also spectators, too. A global razzmatazz of a Christmas show!  Fanciful dream shows of what the good world ought to be. Christmas; the birthday of Jesus, the Messiah, whose everlasting Christmas-like world many await!

One resident of New York; capital city of world money-dynamics and consumerism, was too poor to make it to Charismas 2019 that was oncoming the very next day. As the famous Time Magazine reported “60-year old dies after being mugged for $1 on Christmas eve”. Dying for one-dollar in the city of Wall Street zillions, on Christmas eve, says something of how Jesus’s message of equity and jubilee is yet to permeate the world. In New York and elsewhere, at the same time, Jesus’ Jewish kinsmen are under attack. Aggressed by those who feel Jews have special insight into why and how money abandons the poor to abide with the rich, as Jesus said it would do.

Christmas; the birthday of he who brought the good news! Good news and good news everywhere. Yes, Jesus’ gospel is good news, as those who don’t know will soon know. The good news is about the coming of a golden world order modeled after heaven itself. In such world, current insecurity afflicting Jew and gentile in New York would have no place at all, as all will have goodwill towards all.

For such good message he was sentenced to death, and torturously crucified by the Roman empire. Romans called themselves ‘Children of the Wolf’. They only loved others who saw themselves as lambs, as all predators would. Lambs available for wolf feasts, they would enthusiastically welcome to their land. They loved where Jesus talked of ‘lamb-of-God’, and proclaimed themselves followers of the Christ. The more lambs, the merrier for the empire of wolves, they thought and proclaimed!

 Two thousand years later, very many people have heard the name Jesus. Many also link the name with some salvific message, particularly salvation for themselves; forgiving them whatever evil they commit. Many have a vague idea of what the message is.  Fewer, yet, really know why he died, except as scapegoat ahead of time for other’s sins committed and awaiting to be committed.

But the human suffering caused by greed; poverty, debt, inequality, and nursed to remain alive with bloody weapons of war, is all over the world for the world to see. Resource-rich Africa is now, a man-made, poverty-stricken land. Africa has, since the African; Simon of Cyrene, was compelled by Rome to help bear Jesus’ Cross, kept on bearing an over-sized Cross for imperialists without let. Imperial grandchildren of Rome; Britain and France leading the way in African immiseration.

They are playing wolves as grandma Wolf; Roma. They insist that Africa, forever, plays lamb so that their lamb-feast can go on to Africa’s eternally increasing pain. The Christian gospel they do preach, but don’t believe, is Christmas carol in African ears. Ears desperate for salvation from wolf fangs! But, then, if the Roman imperium and successor empires, have not, for self-interest, been preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ, what did Jesus really say? He preached a heavenly kingdom of equity and Jubilee! A kingdom of ‘Life for all life!’, as ancient Africa knew it or better. A kingdom where no man is wolf to man!

Many people know Jesus as son-of-God. Jesus called himself Son-of-Man. This was a subject of lively debate in his time. He himself raised the issue with his disciples, to find what people thought. He got various answers from themselves and street-talks they had overheard. The debate on this continues to this day.  Many see Jesus as a great ethical philosopher. A great educator, who through parables simplified profound ideas of right and wrong for ordinary people to grasp, live by and propagate.

One title people don’t usually attribute to Jesus is economist. But Jesus was a great economist, if ever there was one. Though many don’t recognize it as such, through his critique of money (parable of the talent), he propounded the theory of what economists now call the Mathew-effect. The name comes from Mathew, the gospeler, who best wrote down what he had said. And academics, in giving authority to ideas, refer to writers  such as Mathew. The money-driven phenomenon of continuous wealth flow from the poorer to the richer is Mathew-effect.

When the 99% of ‘Occupy Wall-street’ complain about the 1%, they are discussing the Mathew-effect. When money flows from poorer to richer countries, whether through Government corruption or genuine business seeking more stable currency, it is Mathew-effect. When people give costlier gifts to the rich than they give to the poor, it is Mathew-effect at work. When ancient religions made usury a sin, it is in damnation of the Mathew-effect. When people stigmatize money-changers, it is Mathew-effect they condemn. When people say ‘money is the root of all evil’, it is due to the toxic consequences of the Mathew-effect.

Jesus saw Mathew-effect as one pillar of the Devil’s mansion on Earth. He warned the world, but the world could not see what he saw. The modern world must listen to Jesus’ theory of the Mathew-effect. This is to avoid the crisis of earlier generations that would not listen, and ended up in world wars. He encapsulated his proposed solutions to the crisis of the Mathew-effect, which people of his time attributed to Mammon; the spirit-of-money, in the Lord’s Prayer he taught humanity. 

Shorn of weave-on praise stuff to humour God, as Luke wrote simply, the Lord’s prayer makes three socio-economic statements: 1. The just laws of Heaven should apply on Earth; thy kingdom come on Earth as is in heaven.  2. There should be universal basic income; give us this day our daily bread and 3. Universal jubilee; forgiveness us our debt, as we forgive our debtors.

A close look at these essential points of the Lord’s Prayers shows that the challenges economists and other thinkers have in today’s world are centered on these three problematics; how to get economic laws that offer satisfactory explanations that all can agree on; how to determine and rationalize universal basic income and what to do with debts in a world in which the indebted poor are more probably the creditors, as it is their wealth that flows to the rich as a consequence of the Mathew-effect?

Identifying the laws of heaven, so as to invoke them on Earth, appears the most problematic of all. But this problem did not exist in traditional African way of understanding and thinking of the world; African epistemology. And this is where African worldview should come to the aid of the world. According ancient Africans, the laws of Heaven manifest on Earth are the laws of Mother-Nature. It might appear, intuitively, to many people that all peoples in the World have idea of and laws of Mother-Nature? Not exactly the same concepts, say the ancients. Africans; whether ancient Egyptians or sub-Saharan Africans, we are told by ancient writers, are the one people that clearly link the laws of heaven to the laws of Earth, through Mother-Nature. Second century North African writer Lucius Apuleius wrote this the clearest it can be written. This is consistent with the historically known African preference for holistic reality.

In any case, there is an urgent need for the world to solve socio-economic problems that Jesus highlighted two millennia ago. The first two are stopping the inexplicable flow of wealth from poor to rich and the need for provision of daily sustenance or universal basic income. The third is universal jubilee; universal debt forgiveness for debts for which the true debtor and true creditors are unclear, because of Mathew-effect. This done, Jesus would have indeed saved the world, the way he promised he would. Otherwise his true gospel would keep being masked in consumerist razzmatazz, while the Earth and humanity burn and drown at the same time.

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