American Christians today, says Michael Barram, have a significant blind spot when it comes to economic matters in the Bible. In this book Barram reads biblical texts related to matters of money, wealth, and poverty through a missional lens, showing how they function to transform our economic reasoning.
Barram searches for insight into God’s purposes for economic justice by exploring what it might look like to think and act in life-giving ways in the face of contemporary economic orthodoxies. The Bible repeatedly tells us how to treat the poor and marginalized, Barram says, and faithful Christians cannot but reflect carefully and concretely on such concerns.
Written in an accessible style, this biblically rooted study reflects years of research and teaching on social and economic justice in the Bible and will prove useful for lay readers, preachers, teachers, students, and scholars.
Michael Barram is professor of theology and religious studies at Saint Mary's College of California. A leading scholar of missional hermeneutics, he is also the author of Mission and Moral Reflection in Paul.
Walter Brueggemann — from the foreword “In this uncommonly urgent book Michael Barram aims at nothing less than a shift of lens through which we read Scripture. . . . Barram’s compelling study is a wake-up call and a summons away from the pseudo-gospel of self-indulgence at the expense of the more vulnerable in the neighborhood.”
Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty — author of The Problem of Wealth: A Christian Response to a Culture of Affluence “Are you a Christian who is experiencing a sense of moral incoherence as you wrestle with the widening wealth gap in the United States? If so, then Michael Barram’s Missional Economics is a must-read for you. His skillful biblical exegesis, keen personal reflections, and critical questions will enable you to join a larger dialogue that crosses the divide between theology and economics at a decisive time for Christians living in a capitalist society. This book will stimulate vigorous and reflective discussions in both college and seminary classrooms and church study groups.”
Mark Labberton — author of Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today “In Missional Economics Michael Barram offers us a stunning gift. He lays out a remarkably clear, reasoned, biblical, and compelling vision of God’s transformative truth and grace for the world. I hope this book freshly opens many hearts and minds as it has my own.”
Michael J. Gorman — author of Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission “This readable but challenging book compellingly unpacks the Bible’s consistent focus on transforming the ways we think (and therefore act) about money, possessions, the poor, and more. The result is a desperately needed antidote to the consumerist, self-indulgent culture in which Western Christians live today. And it is also a persuasive invitation to participate in God’s loving care for a needy world.”
John T. Carroll — Union Presbyterian Seminary “Drawing from his extensive teaching experience, cross-cultural immersion in contexts of poverty, and specialized knowledge in both biblical interpretation and the hermeneutics of mission, Michael Barram is just the person to provide this much-needed resource. Missional Economics: Biblical Justice and Christian Formation will help readers think deeply about the ways in which discipleship may and must address economic realities of the twenty-first century.”
Mark Glanville — Grandview Calvary Church, Vancouver “Here is the scriptural depth necessary for truly biblical reflection on economics. Barram’s analysis is enhanced by questions and dialogue-starters that will serve equally well in undergraduate classrooms and in church discussion groups.”
George Hunsberger — Western Theological Seminary “Barram invites us to approach concrete economic issues with the ‘economic reasoning’ that arises from an ever-deepening range of biblical texts. He is the right person to guide us on such a journey, as he brings to bear his immersion in biblical exegesis and interpretation, in missional hermeneutics, and in the perspectives of numerous underside communities in Central and North America.”
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