I don’t know if you know this. But I’m kind of a nerd. Seriously. I enjoy math and I read books about economics and watch documentaries on the crash of 2008 for fun.
And lately my interest in economics has begun to align itself with another deep interest of mine: Christian simplicity. Simplicity in the sense of a spiritual discipline. The idea of living a simple life like Jesus exemplified.
Because when you think about it, a good part of the external practice of simplicity has to do with economics, with how we spend (or don’t spend) our money. However, don’t get me wrong, there is much more to the practice of simplicity than what you do or don’t own. There is inner simplicity, willing one thing. There is simplicity in speech and behavior. It isn’t limited to how we spend our money or how few possessions we own. But it is a PART of it. That cannot be denied.
Another part of simplicity is also simplicity as expressed by the church in terms of organization and how needs are met for individual believers, with prominent examples coming from the early church in Acts, with holding all things in common being at one end of the scale and simply the giving of money and the selling of land more towards the “middle” of the scale. Essentially it is about making sure no one goes without. It is about economic equality.
And one of the things that absolutely fascinates me (in a terrifying way) in economics is the income gap between the top 1% (or even 10%) and the rest of the world. Or even between the US and the rest of the world. It is absolutely astounding. And I think Christian simplicity has something to say about that. Namely, that it is wrong.
However, this is as far as I am right now. I’m not exactly sure what the answer is yet. But I believe there is one. One that is a mix of economics AND the life-change that results from really knowing Jesus. But I don’t have it figured out yet. So I am not going to go on some rant and rave (yet) about how things are so messed up and wrong when I don’t have a valid solution to propose. I think part of being a prophet is providing both critique AND direction. So I’m not going to do one without the other.
ANYWAY, I say all that to say that I may have found a subject/area that I would be willing to do Ph. D. work in some day. I was once told that you can’t really do Ph. D. work in an area until you find a subject in which you need to have answers, until you have questions that really drive and motivate you. And I think these two areas come together in a prophetic way for me, one that hasn’t let me go in a while.
And I like it.
As a result, I think these themes are going to be dominating my reading in the near future. I have a few books I want to read before I start heading out into this new land of Christian economics because I have a feeling that once I start I won’t want to stop. So this is a heads up to what you can expect to be seeing me react to here on the blog in the future.
So my question now for you is two-fold. First, do you have any sources (blogs, books, podcasts, documentaries) on these areas that you think might be helpful to me? And second (and more importantly) what is an area you think you could do an immense amount of research and never get tired of? Please share in the comments.