Thursday, January 22, 2009

Economic Parables - Post 1

This week we'll look at a new book, Economic Parables -- The Monetary Teachings of Jesus Christ by David Cowan.


Ever wondered how to pay the next bill? Felt the world is unfair in economic rewards? Been indecisive about investing wisely? These types of fiscal questions are addressed from a Christian viewpoint in Economic Parables.

Using his vast experience in the financial world as well as church ministry, the author invites you to listen directly to the words of Jesus and reflect on a number of "economic parables" to understand life in an increasingly globalized economy. Some of the answers you'll find will be surprising, in part, because Jesus was a more sophisticated economist than he is given credit for. His words will shed light on many modern economic problems and decisions we may not think to go to the Bible about.

By taking this journey through the "economic parables," your response to finances and the global marketplace will be enriched from a balanced biblical approach. Each chapter contains a parable and reflection, followed by questions making this book ideal for group or personal Bible study.

David Cowan is a pastor, speaker, writer, and theologian. He holds a Bachelor of Theology and Master of Theology, both from the University of Oxford, and a Diploma in Ministry from Westfield House, Cambridge. For over twenty years, he worked as a journalist, editor, and bank executive in Europe and North America for organizations such as Financial Times, Euromoney, and the World Bank Group in Washington DC. He has written for the Washington Times, Financial Times, The Times of London, The Middle East and has been interviewed by major print, television, and radio media, including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and BBC Radio. He lives in Cluny, France, with his wife and two children.

In the Preface, David explains how his unique experiences as both a theologian and journalist in the finance industry position him to view both the Bible and world financial issues in a different light.

He states his hope that the book will spark debate within the Christian community about our responsibilities and responses it world economic issues.


1. To His Disciples He Explained Everything
2. Can we Use Worldly Wealth? The Parable of the Dishonest Manager
3. Do We Let Wealth Choke the Word? The Parable of the Sower
4. Do We Envy Our Neighbor? The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
5. Can We Invest Wisely? The Parable of the Ten Minas
6. How Should We Manage Our Debts? The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
7. The Things We Have, Whose Are They? The Parable of the Rich Fool
8. How Productive Are We? The Parable of the Tenants
9. Can We Forgive Debts? The Parable of the Two Debtors
10. Are We Storing Treasure on Earth? The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
11. How Much Do We Give? The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
12. What Can We Do To Help Others? The Rich Man and Lazarus
13. How Charitable Are We? The Parable of the Great Banquet
14. How Much Do We Need to Live On? The Parable of the Lost Coin
15. The Gospel in an Economic World in Need of Faith

The first chapter provide key background for understanding the link between our economy and the life of submission to God's will that we are called live. Many times Christians ignore the world economy by thinking it doesn't have implications on theology or is based on the 'root of all evil'. But as we understand the implications of a global economy on our personal lives, we struggle with our ability to integrate our 'Christian' lives and with our financial dealings with income, debt, giving, and wealth.

Starting with Chapter 2, the format includes an introduction, the text of a parable taken from the NIV Bible, a Reflection, Other Biblical Texts to Study, and Things to Think About.

The next post will look more closely at a few of Cowan's assertions and will include an interview with the author.

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