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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 02:12 PM
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Jesus: Redistributionist-in-Chief

from Consortium News:

Jesus: Redistributionist-in-Chief
September 4, 2011

If Christian conservatives truly understood and accepted the teachings of Jesus, they would not be at the Tea Party barricades fighting to protect the money, power and privileges of the rich; they would be demanding what Jesus wanted, a radical redistribution of wealth and decent treatment of all, as the Rev. Howard Bess notes.

By the Rev. Howard Bess

According to Lukes gospel, the beginning of the ministry of Jesus as a reputational rabbi was marked by his public reading of a passage from the Isaiah scroll. His declaration was that a year special to God had arrived, a Jubilee Year that would redistribute wealth and end the economic persecution of the poor.

A key part of the understanding of Jesus involves his understanding of this Year of Jubilee. According to Levitical Law, all land was owned by God. So, the people who controlled the land and farmed it were stewards/servants, but according to Leviticus, they never really owned the land.

Land could be bought and sold but only for a limited time. Plus, the holders of land were under some strict rules. Every seventh year the land could not be farmed, meaning the land had a Sabbath year when it rested.

At the end of the seventh seven-year cycle (i.e. 49 years), the Levitical Law required that all the people start over. Land was to be completely redistributed. This 50th year was called the Year of Jubilee. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: /

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Cirque du So-What Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 02:20 PM
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1. Funny how some points of Levitical law get passed over in favor of others
They'll jump through semantic hoops in order to use Leviticus 18 as a bludgeon against homosexuality, yet they turn a blind eye toward the egalitarian Jubilee. Typical, really. For my part, I could sure use a jubilee right about now!
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 04:57 PM
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2. Thank you - what a beautiful interpretation of that passage. And it
can be used very clearly today in many areas of our lives. Shocked me coming from a Baptist minister - not the usual thing!
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raouldukelives Donating Member (945 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 07:32 PM
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3. They are neither Christian nor conservative imho
I've read quite a bit about the Dominionist sects on here. Most of them seem to fit that description to me. I don't think they much care for Christ or the New Testament aside from using it as a crutch when need be. Incidentally it's the same way they treat the American Flag.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:30 PM
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4. The year of release didn't always restore much to the poor.
Nor was the land completely redistributed.

With years of release you'd have no loans greater than 6 years. None. And as the year of release approached you'd find the length of permissible loans to be smaller and smaller. Who would grant a 30 year mortgage if after 3 years it's forgiven?

Land was redistributed to families and clans. Not only would Mr. Igel have to go to the land that was distributed to his clan when the land was initially settled and inheritances given by lot, but he'd have to go to the portion that belonged to his family. This isn't very much an option. If you were given 50 acres and 100 men return there, welcome to poverty. You don't grow your family on 5 acres. Population growth would kill that system. If your family had a lot of girls born to it you may be the only male and have 50 acres to farm. Woo-hoo! Randomness in births would level this out, but it's still stochastic.

However, it means that you're not very likely to make any improvements to the land that would last for more than 48 years if it's not your patrimony. You buy land 10 years from the year of jubilee, in 8 years it's fallow and in year 10 it reverts to its rightful owner. Irrigation? Factories? Barns and other buildings? Why bother, if you can't not only recoup your investment two years before the year of jubilee with a hefty profit.

In the US there was no initial division of the land. No redistribution under Levitical law is possible, so this isn't a problem. Since there's no system to apply, it's a nice fantasy but it's completely undefined--any system promoted wouldn't be one that Jesus would have had in mind or intended. Moreover, would they really want to assign land to people like that? The inevitable result is that any immigrants *after* the allotment is made can never truly possess land. In the year of jubilee, they and all their descendants that followed and exclusively male line (son having son) all would forced into the cities, with no exceptions. Or be forced "home."

Moreover, it didn't apply to land in the cities. That could be bought and sold in perpetuity. Large landholders who had no outstanding debt would have no problem retaining their properties. However, it meant cities couldn't expand into patrimonies. If there was urban sprawl, in the year of jubilee Houston's 13 million would have to leave for their ancestral homes or all scrunch into what was usually a very small walled city. Look out for rental property prices under those conditions.

The year of release would remake the system. Somehow people only see what would benefit those or those they empathize with--or, more importantly for many, hurt those they despise. Still, they overlook the aspects of the change that would hurt them.
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