I have had the honor of being asked to record a series of short segments with my friends at Cornerstone Television Network on topics pertaining to Jesus and economics.
Below you will find a link to the first of that series. In it I deal first with the issue of proper interpretation of the Gospels. Scholars acknowledge the importance of looking at the Bible in historical context, but perhaps due to lack of economic knowledge, they tend to ignore the historical economic context of Jesus' life, even those episodes in Jesus' life when he spoke directly to economic issues.
In order to up our game as Bible interpreters, and to open up the economic aspects of the Bible, we need to stop skimming over geographical place names, and the details of the specific occupations of the people who Jesus encounters. Details matter. It matters where Jesus is when he says something and it matters who he says it to, including how they made their living.
Case in point is Jesus' confrontation with the rich young ruler shortly after he had crossed into Judea. Jesus moved from the relatively decentralized and entrepreneurial culture of Galilee into the region of Judea, which centered on the city of Jerusalem which was economically founded on an incestuous union of state monarchy, state-controlled church, and politically connected wealthy elites. None of that is irrelevant, and the more closely one looks at the details of Jesus' confrontation with this young man, the more clear it becomes that it matters who he was and where they were.
Be sure to let me know what you think, and please share with anyone you think might benefit from a deeper understanding of Jesus' often misunderstood economic message.