Where did Christians go wrong? A conversation w/ Spencer Hess on The Enchantments of Mammon (1-Video)

In this first part of our recent conversation, Spencer and I discuss what we took away from Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon. I did a series on this book not long ago, and I”ll put the playlist in a link below. We discuss the question of where Christianity started going wrong, McCarraher’s adoption of Romanticism, his preference for socialism and socialism’s compatibility with Christianity, and his even greater preference for some sort of Christian anarchism. What is the role of the church in creating community–and why doesn’t the church do it well? And we don’t mean getting together for a book club or coffee klatsch. … More Where did Christians go wrong? A conversation w/ Spencer Hess on The Enchantments of Mammon (1-Video)

Mises, Hayek, Rand, Friedman: Prophets of Another Faith (McCarraher 9-Audio)

Inspired by Chapter 26 of Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon entitled “The New Testament of Capitalism,” I focus on the intellectuals whose ideas undergird the faith in the “free market.” Taking both the concept of faith and what these thinkers said seriously, it’s hard to miss that their perspective runs counter to the faith of people of the book (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) because it enchants the market with godlike and irresistible “laws of nature” and promises to solve all the world’s problems. Neoliberal capitalism is another ideology that, because it is ultimately a human invention, cannot deliver the grandiose benefits it promises, and yet requires of its believers more unquestioning reverence than any truly transcendent power asks of them. … More Mises, Hayek, Rand, Friedman: Prophets of Another Faith (McCarraher 9-Audio)

What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Audio)

In a discussion that launches from Part 4 of McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon, especially the part on the Arts and Crafts movement and its preoccupation with beauty, we get into the question of how to view human labor and the material world. McCarraher’s sacramental view of nature informs a discussion of whether and how it is realistic and beneficial to see matter as sacred. What would it mean for Christianity and other religions if we did? What would it mean for work and for the economy?
More What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Audio)

What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Video)

In a discussion that launches from Part 4 of McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon, especially the part on the Arts and Crafts movement and its preoccupation with beauty, we get into the question of how to view human labor and the material world. McCarraher’s sacramental view of nature informs a discussion of whether and how it is realistic and beneficial to see matter as sacred. What would it mean for Christianity and other religions if we did? What would it mean for work and for the economy? … More What if Matter Is Sacred? Conversation with Jakob Hanschu on Arts and Crafts Movement (McCarraher 7-Video)

Does the Corporate God Love Us? (McCarraher 5-Audio)

Drawing from Part 3 of Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon, I take a good look at the way evangelical Christians in the late 19th century put God and Mammon on the same level. The corporation was raised to the dignity of a human person in U.S. law, begging the question of whether anyone who believes that can really adequately respect human life as “made in the image and likeness of God.” … More Does the Corporate God Love Us? (McCarraher 5-Audio)

Medieval Radicals? Fighting the Enchantments of Mammon (2-Audio)

We begin to get into Eugene McCarraher’s book The Enchantments of Mammon with the first chapter, in which he surveys the development of two kinds of Christianity, the kind that’s comfortable alongside wealth and the kind that isn’t. Throughout Christian history, before and after the Protestant Reformation, both types are to be found struggling to define Christian faith and practice. With the Protestant Reformation we see an attempt to sacramentalize work and productivity, replacing older more obviously enchanted Catholic eucharistic sacramentality. … More Medieval Radicals? Fighting the Enchantments of Mammon (2-Audio)

Bureaucratic Dominance: Christopher Lasch on Controlled Labor (3-Video)

This video covers chapters 2 and 3 of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. We explore why the strong narcissist is likely to work their way up the bureaucratic ladder in corporations and government service, and why, since bureaucracy is clearly not efficient, we insist on bureaucratic “rationality.” I also discuss Lasch’s ideas regarding detachment from a sense of time and from immediate experience, which robs people of life, and I introduce Lasch’s views on the origins of all this in the twisted turns of Protestant Christian development in the United States. … More Bureaucratic Dominance: Christopher Lasch on Controlled Labor (3-Video)

Bureaucratic Dominance: Christopher Lasch on Controlled Labor (3-Audio)

This video covers chapters 2 and 3 of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. We explore why the strong narcissist is likely to work their way up the bureaucratic ladder in corporations and government service, and why, since bureaucracy is clearly not efficient, we insist on bureaucratic “rationality.” I also discuss Lasch’s ideas regarding detachment from a sense of time and from immediate experience, which robs people of life, and I introduce Lasch’s views on the origins of all this in the twisted turns of Protestant Christian development in the United States. … More Bureaucratic Dominance: Christopher Lasch on Controlled Labor (3-Audio)

Numbed and Satiated: Brueggemann on Egypt and America

In this second part of a discussion of Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, I discuss how left and right-wing churches alike are likely to be sucked into “royal consciousness,” and that is equivalent to the sin of idolatry. Brueggemann’s alternative, inspired by the story of Moses and the escape from the Egyptians, is to claim a foothold in the freedom on God, literally an other-worldly vantage point from which to gain perspective on the world and strength to oppose the Pharoahs of the world. Brueggemann thus begins his provocative critique of the contemporary Christian church within the framework of a studied reading of Old Testament scripture. He argues that then, and now, the satiation and subsequent numbness of the haves in society makes way for treating the lower ranks as things to be used, bought and sold. Community is broken by this disregard for others within it … More Numbed and Satiated: Brueggemann on Egypt and America