Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Jubilee, Part 2

Jo Hunter Adams

This blog seems to be all about thinking out loud. Bear with me as I stay fairly abstract for one more post.

When it comes to distribution and redistribution, the Bible seems to say something very similar to what a lot of post-colonial thinkers say. So I think what's shocking is not the idea of redistribution itself, but that countries with a large Christian population can (and should?) be far more sold on it than they are. It's not just a communist idea, and it's definitely not an idea that needs to be feared and avoided in churches.

The language of Human Rights came in large part after the International Declaration of Human Rights after World War II. Human rights links closely with human dignity. We get a glimpse of the consequences of inequality when we read the great colonial and post-colonial writers (Cesaire, Fanon), and perhaps even when we read Marx. But it's harder to find examples of equality and keeping people in community. Even the example of jubilee in ancient Israel is pretty limited.

But one way that it is helpful is in showing us exactly how bad multi-generational inequality must be, for God had a plan in place to avoid this kind of exclusion.

I think Zimbabwe and South Africa both show, in different ways, how difficult redistribution can be after many generations. In the twenty-first century, participating in society doesn't just take a plot of land; it takes land, education and money. If we try to think about jubilee today, that's what we have to be thinking about.

No comments: