Thursday, January 27, 2011

Money and Goofy Religion Part 4

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3

Before I get to the spirit of the law plus money, I want to address why we would need any kind of rules on money to begin with.

The goofy Gospel folk say that if you pray hard enough, or visualize enough, or get in on the secret enough, or please our alien forefathers enough, you’ll get so much money raining down on you that you will be gloriously and eternally happy.

Because the key to all things good is wealth, right?

To answer this, let’s go to the holy text, “The Fiddler on the Roof,” chapter one, starting with the verse, “If I Were a Rich Man.”

The number begins with Tevye kvetching to G-d about his status as a poor person, framing the question,

"Dear God, you made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor. But it's no great honor either! So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

And then he sings about what he would do if he had money.

First, he would stop working.  Instead he would, and I quote, “biddy biddy bum.”

Then he would pimp his crib to excess (can one pimp a crib to excess?), including a staircase that goes nowhere just for show.

And he would make sure the whole town knows how rich he is, pumping up the ego as much as possible.

So, if he were rich, he would race to sloth, greed and pride.  He gets to gluttony a little bit later.  So, four out of seven of the sins that destroy a man.

Can I just point out the brilliance of Bock, Harnick and Stein: Tevye asks G-d a question, then immediately answers it himself.

Dont’ get me wrong, I’m with Tevye on this one - would it be so awful to give me a little bit of weath?  I’d be happy to take on that burden.

But I also have to admit that if honesty came into play, I would not be immune to Tevye’s temptations -- especially as his reason for wanting the wealth comes from one of the three remaining deadly sins.

Can the rush to fulfill the itch of envy (or pride, greed, lust, wrath, sloth or gluttony) result in true health, wealth or wisdom?

Maybe not so much.

Yet the goofy Gospelians tell us to rush headlong into such stuff.  

What would the non-goofy Gospel tell us instead?

Next time.

Just my thoughts,



David Goulet said...

You're on fire with this topic! Keep burning. It's great stuff.

Janet said...

I will never be able to listen to "Fiddler on the Roof" the same way again. (Not even when we do it for Living Room Musicals, which will undoubtedly happen, and now you must be there to make me start laughing uncontrollably when Tevye starts singing, and everyone but you and me will think it's because of the song.)