Sunday, August 15, 2010

To each according to need, from each according to ability

"Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."

- Acts 4.32-35.

Jeremy has been pondering the economic ethics of the Hebrew scriptures and makes the good point that both strict egalitarianism and totally free markets are largely caricature positions held by almost no one, so it does no service to charitable and productive discourse to assume your opponent to the left holds the former or your opponent to the right holds the latter. There are many other options that are far more interesting (he even has a chart of ten different possibilities).

One question I have about the passage quoted above is: what (if any) are the links between the economic arrangements of the early Christian community and the great power of the apostles' testimony to the resurrection and the great grace upon them all?
Jeremy has also been posting on the ethics of the creation and purchasing of clothes.