Local author Peter Dominy was in college recently to launch his new book, Decoding Mammon. Thirty-two people enjoyed coffee and shortbread, the Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, give a very interesting introduction, and then the author gave a fascinating talk on money. There was a lot of lively discussion from the audience.
Decoding Mammon is an exposition of the negative assessment of money implied in Jesus’ statement, “You cannot serve God and Mammon”. On the basis of the theology enshrined in the Old and New Testaments and in the long-term tradition of the church, it is claimed that problems associated with money do not arise simply from the way it is used, but from the nature of money itself.
Despite the fact that money has enabled great economic development, and in contrast with the general consensus of governments, economists, and many theologians that money is either a positive or neutral instrument, the book seeks to show that money is a deeply flawed instrument, created by fallen human beings, and fashioned over the years to suit the interests of those in power rather than the needs of people in general.
It is argued that money should only be allowed to operate within severe restrictions, and that any reformulation of the global economy as a result of the recent financial crisis needs to be based on this understanding.
“Reams have been published on the reasons for the 2008 crisis, asking all the questions except the ones that need to be asked: What is money? What has it become? Do we own it or does it own us? Decoding Mammon will take you into these questions, and the issues will look different as a result.”
Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester; author of Grace and Mortgage: Language of Faith and the Debt of the World