Tomorrow I begin a class on Luke's Gospel at Laidlaw College Christchurch One of the issues in modern study of Luke's gospel is whether or not it remains as urgent in its sense of the end of the world as Mark and Matthew before it. That is, was the Gospel, along with the sequel Acts, written at a point when Christians were realising that Jesus was not returning tomorrow, and maybe had even turned from thinking about the end of the world to just the end of individuals' lives: death is eschatology, not final, cataclysmic global judgement.
Another issue is Luke's approach to riches. We could say that he was no Romney. Not even a John Key. But was he an Obama? Interestingly, I don't think Luke has a lot in common with Leo XIII, linked to via the Giles Fraser interview with Bishop Justin Welby (see yesterday's post). Leo's encyclical Rerum Novarum is much too keen on private ownership of property for Luke's taste. Some of what Luke has to say is, effectively, expressing a divine preferential disposition towards the poor. Some of what he says is sheer warning: riches cannot save you, indeed they may doom you, wake up, the end of your riches is nigh.
In that Lukan spirit, as a free service in economic advice, ADU draws your attention to these gloomy reports about the world's deepening recession: Greece at the end of the Euro road, and France not far behind. Yes, you read that right, France. But don't worry about the USA. What is at stake there is not whether Romney or Obama prevails in the election. It is whether Paul Krugman's advice will be followed: take the free money, he says, go deeper into debt, build some roads and bridges. All will be well.
Funnily enough, Luke might agree with Krugman. After all, if the end of the world is imminent, why not go deeper into debt! But I don't advise the Greeks or the French to rely on the end of the world to save them.
Oh, and Luke has a few things to say about fools, so he might have a word for Monsieur le President Hollande who took office and lowered the age for people to receive the pension.