Trump and Economics In the Gospels Installment #7 – Dwellings

June 2018
By Steve Richards – Managing Director, TheoEco Institute


The Gospels are full of houses.  They are mentioned seemingly at all times and in all books.  The disciples had them.  Jesus’ friends had them, as did his enemies.  Everyone but Jesus himself seemed to have one.

Donald Trump certainly is famous for his dwellings – and achieved much of his wealth through their building. He currently lives in perhaps the most famous house of them all: The White House. Building homes is the family business, though the Trumps have certainly diversified. This particular section of the Trump and the Gospels study seems, therefore, particularly prescient somehow.

From an economics standpoint it would seem pretty obvious that homebuilding, like today, was a cornerstone of economic activity.  As is seen in the chapters on labor and produced goods it is also apparent that tools and jobs were abundant in the home building sector, if you will.

Lastly, the Gospels never seem to disparage the owner of a home for owning it, as one might expect given the statements that one should sell everything and give to the poor.  Houses seem to be exempt.  Folks gotta live somewhere after all.


Gospel Celebrities’ Houses

Several iconic figures in the Gospels are mentioned specifically as home owners.

Peter’s House

Matthew 8:14 Now when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying down, sick with a fever

Matthew’s House

Matthew 9:10 As Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples

Simon’s House

Luke 7:44 Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

Jairus’ House

Luke 8:41 Then a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue, came up. Falling at Jesus’ feet, he pleaded with him to come to his house,

Simon the Leper’s House

Matthew 26:6 Now while Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,

Lazarus’ House

John 11:20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary was sitting in the house.

Mother Mary

Luke 1:56 So Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

Zechariah’s House

Luke 1:39 In those days Mary got up and went hurriedly into the hill country, to a town of Judah, 1:40 and entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.


House Divided Against Itself

Houses are also mentioned metaphorically time and again in the Gospels as in this famous passage. Quite a potential analogy regarding the present situation of the United States’ populace.

Matthew 12:25 Now when Jesus realized what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.


A Prophet in His Own House

Many can also relate to this seemingly axiomatic phrase. Trump and NYC?

Matthew 13:57 And so they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own house.”


Stay Alert – the Owner of the House Will Return

Again, a house is used to make a point allegorically.

Mark 13:34 It is like a man going on a journey. He left his house and put his slaves in charge, assigning to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. 13:35 Stay alert, then, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return – whether during evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn –


No Place To Lay His Head

Quite the opposite of Trump, apparently, Jesus himself had no house of his own.

Luke 9:58 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

All will go to their own home, except Jesus.

John 16:32 Look, a time is coming – and has come – when you will be scattered, each one to his own home, and I will be left alone. Yet I am not alone, because my Father is with me.


The Governor’s Residence

Much took place at the Governor’s residence. Trump Tower perhaps?

John 18:28 Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s residence. (Now it was very early morning.) They did not go into the governor’s residence so they would not be ceremonially defiled, but could eat the Passover meal


Household (10)

Households are very important in modern finance, especially as it pertains to taxable entities at the personal level.  In the Gospels households are similarly mentioned as perhaps the most intimate group of importance. The Trump household is constantly deliberated by seemingly the whole of the U.S. electorate, reality TV fans, celebrity watchers, the world, etc., etc., etc.

John 4:53 Then the father realized that it was the very time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he himself believed along with his entire household.

And somewhat ominously…

Matthew 10:36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.


This review is taken from a study titled Economics in the Gospels which presents a view of the Gospel Economy and with it analogies to current day mixed economies and

The study of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the rest of the Bible, provides “nuggets” of relevant economic commentary – some of the earliest Jewish thought on money that the world has.  The economic lessons are not paramount to the writers, for the most part – and yet there they are.  So obvious, and yet largely overlooked. As this all relates to Donald Trump, we leave to the reader.

A review of ancient writings, not just Judeo-Christian, for economic lessons may be useful for economists.  Current economic theory and practice have shown weakness as recently as the “Great Recession” and housing crash.

As Donald Trump is so associated with economics, his financial success, as well as his oft noted association with The Wharton School, financial and economic success is perhaps his major qualification. So, it would seem to make sense that analogies to the Gospels can be made, at least for the fun of it, if nothing else. We have also added the occasional hyperlink when appropriate.

The accumulator of all contained herein, Steve Richards, is hopefully as unbiased as possible as it pertains to a scholarly review of the Gospels.


Please note that throughout this book we break down the texts into specific words that have an economic context and also list in parentheses the number of times we find its mention.  If we only find it once in all the Gospels there is no number.


Next Installment: Other Structures

Trump and Economics In the Gospels – Installment #6 – Forgiveness

June 2018
By Steve Richards – Managing Director, TheoEco Institute

This review is taken from a study titled Economics in the Gospels which presents a view of the Gospel Economy and with it analogies to current day mixed economies and Capitalism.

This month’s installment looks at a subject closely related to last month’s “Commerce and Banking” installment: Forgiveness. While Christianity’s general philosophy lies on this bedrock principle, to see forgiveness in an economic context is intriguing. Modern bankruptcy law institutionalizes forgiveness of loans  for instance, as does the practice of forgiving the loans of nations, forgiveness of credit card loans, etc.

Trump himself has benefited greatly from such practices going way back, including the forgiveness of his $500,000,000 to the bondholders of his Atlantic City casino in the 1980’s. He has even bragged about his numerous bankruptcies and their qualifying nature for his presidency. That’s what this series tries to do; to see Trump in light of the economic lessons of the Gospels.

On a more personal level, Trump has famously stated that he does’t think he has asked God for forgiveness https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/18/politics/trump-has-never-sought-forgiveness/index.html though he is a Presbyterian and practices holy communion. Whether Trump is the “forgiving kind” would seem a complicated topic. He certainly appears pragmatic on the practice.

The study of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the rest of the Bible, provides “nuggets” of relevant economic commentary – some of the earliest Jewish thought on money that the world has.  The economic lessons are not paramount to the writers, for the most part – and yet there they are.  So obvious, and yet largely overlooked. As this all relates to Donald Trump, we leave to the reader.

A review of ancient writings, not just Judeo-Christian, for economic lessons may be useful for economists.  Current economic theory and practice have shown weakness as recently as the “Great Recession” and housing crash.

As Donald Trump is so associated with economics, his financial success, as well as his oft noted association with The Wharton School, financial and economic success is perhaps his major qualification. So, it would seem to make sense that analogies to the Gospels can be made, at least for the fun of it, if nothing else. We have also added the occasional hyperlink when appropriate.

The accumulator of all contained herein, Steve Richards, is an Independent politically, and is hopefully as unbiased as possible as it pertains to a scholarly review of the Gospels.

Please note that throughout this book we break down the texts into specific words that have an economic context and also list in parentheses the number of times we find its mention.  If we only find it once in all the Gospels there is no number.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness seems like a rather quaint concept that has little reality in a business or economic context.  But forgiveness of debts is commonplace, as well as the pragmatic practice of companies and individuals “wiping the slate clean” after lawsuits and civil proceedings are settled.   Lawsuit today – partnership tomorrow.


Turn the Other Cheek

While turning the other cheek is difficult on its face, companies and individuals in business do it all the time.  Few economic entities take things personally.  It is also normal for countries and large economic enterprises to turn the other cheek, so long as there are economic payoffs in doing so.

Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 5:39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.


Give Him Your Coat Also

This passage takes things a bit further as modern practice goes.  Few, if any, will pay more than negotiated for. Trump certainly thinks America is getting a  bad deal in most of its dealings with its world economic partners. And New Yorkers in general never like to pay retail – especially perhaps, coats.

Matthew 5:40 And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also.


And Forgive Us Our Debts

This passage from the Lord’s Prayer is also translated differently into sins and trespasses.  Perhaps it’s not so much that we ask to be forgiven as the statement that we have forgiven others.

Matthew 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.


If You Do Not Forgive Others

Here the Gospels put some meat on the bones regarding the requirement to forgive others.  Forgive or else.

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 6:15 But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins. 


The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave

Matthew 18:23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 18:24 As he began settling his accounts, a man who owed ten thousand talents was brought to him. 18:25 Because he was not able to repay it, the lord ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 18:26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground before him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 18:27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 18:28 After he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred silver coins. So he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 18:29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ 18:30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 18:31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. 18:32 Then his lord called the first slave and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 18:33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 18:34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.” 


Next Installment: Dwellings

Freedom of Religion? In Nepal, Not So Much for the Christians.

We started going to Nepal in 2015 and found a welcoming network of Christians to work with as we attempted to chronicle the aftermath of the earthquakes that year. Our interests are primarily secular though we are interested in how various theologies impact the economic and ecological entanglements we focus on. This networking has given us access to people and situations we would never experience on our own. They also happen to be some of the world’s nicest people who get along famously with their Hindu and Buddhist brethren.

But it’s getting tougher to be Christian in Nepal because of a new law that makes it illegal to convert others to the faith. This isn’t new, but the law puts a fine point on the issue and makes Christian leaders, as well as members of other minority faiths, increasingly fearful of imprisonment. Having just returned from Nepal I saw firsthand how they are trying to thread the proverbial needle between just preaching and evangelizing. The law also subjects foreigners to deportation with organizations like Save the Children and World Vision reportedly impacted. For more go to https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/october/nepal-criminalizes-conversion-christianity-evangelism-hindu.html .

The dilemma for Christians? Under the new law Christians can’t follow Jesus’s instructions:

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Telling a Christian in Nepal that they can’t spread the Gospel and baptize new believers is like telling Bishop Michael Curry to tone things down a bit. The church is being forced underground…again. Even though the new constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

Why all the fuss about a tiny segment of Nepal’s population? It’s not new. In fact, Hindu nationalists bombed a Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Lalitpur section of Kathmandu in 2008, killing two and wounding a dozen (for more go to: https://wwrn.org/articles/32318/). Meanwhile Nepal’s Christian community continues to flourish.

It is difficult for those of us in the west to appreciate the situation these Christians are in. We have never known what it’s like to be in the minority as Christians, nor to know a government hostile to whatever religion we choose. The foundation of our system of government is based on freedom of religion so when we meet those without it, it leaves us disoriented. Especially when the threat to those we know and care for is so real. It reminds one of what the early Christians in ancient Rome might have experienced.

TheoEco’s roots are with the Christian community in Nepal and we have spent much time documenting their activities. We are however not involved in Church matters and are a secular organization that sees its purpose as researching, documenting, AND assisting. Along these lines we found the best way we can help is to spread the word via our documentary about them and provide financial assistance to those we meet along the way.

If you would like to learn more, we can arrange a screening of our documentary The Flourishing Kathmandu Church, so you can see for yourself (For a sample please view the segment Sunday School on Saturday on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/AYy8djOcsRE ). They are very grateful for prayers and support and are very happy to welcome visitors on Saturday services!

For more just contact us.

Steve Richards, Managing Director, stever@theoeco.org

Piles of Bricks – A Feature Documentary about Nepal’s 2015 Megaquakes

At the three-year anniversary the devastation and travails continue

TheoEco first arrived in Nepal in September 2015 in the aftermath of the devastating mega-quakes on April 25th and May 12th of that year. Remember? The quakes were truly overwhelming, and the world rushed in with companies like FedEx, Facebook, and others donating services, money, and attention. Thousands of people were killed, hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed, irreplaceable monuments and temples toppled, and millions were left homeless.

And with the endless news coverage, there was a promise of $4 billion from the world to rebuild.

Of course, many calamities have befallen the world since then and we have mostly moved on. That being said, the situation in the areas hardest hit have recovered little in most situations, and just over a quarter of the $4 billion appears to have made it to where it is supposed to go: the homeowners. There are many reasons, which, when added up, probably means the money will never get to where it’s supposed to. Most citizens we speak with expect little from here on out. For a review: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_2015_Nepal_earthquake.

And this leaves us with the gnawing feeling that corruption and politics is taking its toll–and is why we feel a need to revisit and shine a light on the situation with our upcoming documentary: Piles of Bricks (Revisited) – click here to see the trailer.

To be sure, there is a lot of building going on in and around Kathmandu, though most of the homes remain in a state of disrepair with only a fraction (15%) having been rebuilt, according to government estimates (https://twitter.com/Reenacbr/status/989072969107374085).

The devastation was always toughest in the villages, though that is little comfort to those who were severely hit in Kathmandu’s urban areas. It is obvious that rebuilding efforts will take years, especially with the funds AWOL. For a deep dive check out https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/nepals-desperate-race-to-rebuild/.

Since those early days we return as often as possible and are planning several returns over the next year as we embark on a third set of projects under the banner: Nepal 3+. More on that in future posts.

To remind folks of what it was like in 2015 we are releasing the original Piles of Bricks free of charge on YouTube and Vimeo.

Piles of Bricks was completed in 2016 but never released. We are releasing all of the original Piles of Bricks films including the mini-documentary segments as follows:

  • Piles of Bricks Feature – This is the full 50-minute feature film.
  • Piles of Bricks Trailer – The trailer.
  • Range of Damage – An eight-minute segment which shows the range of damage that we found, from the devastated stone and mud houses in Harisiddhi, to steel reinforced concrete earthquake resistant structures in Lalitpur–often side by side.
  • Sunday School on Saturday – What makes our work possible in Nepal is the Christian community, especially the Anglicans who befriended and help us at every turn. This segment shows what Saturday mornings are like (Their day of prayer as it is the only day most all Nepali’s take off) at Golgotha Church in Lalitpur.
  • National Theological College – Another vital partner TheoEco has found is the National Theological College just outside Kathmandu. Look at this nine-minute mini-documentary to see what people were really dealing with in the earthquake aftermath as the Indian blockade heaped even more misery on the average Nepali with fuel and other shortages. Prepare to be inspired and a bit shocked.
  • Villages – This 14-minute mini documentary goes deep in the villages in and around the Kathmandu Valley, including Gorkha, the epicenter of the original earthquake.

To see all the films together go to https://vimeo.com/album/5153225. Or you can view all on TheoEco’s YouTube channel.

We hope you enjoy them all!

Trump and Economics In the Gospels – Installment #5 of 20 – Commerce and Banking

Commerce and Banking

By Steve Richards – Managing Director, TheoEco Institute

In the Gospels There are some fascinating mentions and analogies, as well as key parables, that get at key economic activities, at least peripherally.

In this section we see that buying and selling, wages, pay, borrowing, debts, creditors, deposits, and accounts were all well established in Jesus’s time as would be expected in an advanced civilization such as Rome.

Can we see President Trump in these passages? For the most part it is left to you the reader, with a little help along the way.


Buying (13) / Selling (13)

Transactions are the life blood of an economy.  The most basic of economic activities is the act of buying and selling.  And if nothing else, Trump is famous for buying and selling, the essence of deal making.

Matthew 21:12 Then Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying in the temple courts, and turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.

Mark 6:36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.”

John 4:8 (For his disciples had gone off into the town to buy supplies.)


In this next parable the value of “doing business” is shown to be highly valued.  Notice the mentions of kingdoms, money, labor, trading, interest, banking, agriculture, risk/reward, promotion, business, etc. Trump as the “nobleman” and can we find “apprentices” in the story? By the way, a Mina in today’s terms might be worth close to $17,000.

The Parable of the Ten Minas

Luke 19:11 While the people were listening to these things, Jesus proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 19:12 Therefore he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 19:13 And he summoned ten of his slaves, gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ 19:14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be king over us!’ 19:15 When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he summoned these slaves to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much they had earned by trading. 19:16 So the first one came before him and said, ‘Sir, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 19:17 And the king said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, you will have authority over ten cities.’ 19:18 Then the second one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has made five minas.’ 19:19 So the king said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 19:20 Then another slave came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina that I put away for safekeeping in a piece of cloth. 19:21 For I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You withdraw what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.’ 19:22 The king said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! So you knew, did you, that I was a severe man, withdrawing what I didn’t deposit and reaping what I didn’t sow? 19:23 Why then didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I returned I could have collected it with interest?’ 19:24 And he said to his attendants, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten.’ 19:25 But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas already!’ 19:26 ‘I tell you that everyone who has will be given more, but from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 19:27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and slaughter them in front of me!’”

As for enemies being slaughtered at the end of the parable we’ll just be glad we don’t live in Roman times…


Wage (3) / Pay (5)

The only mention of the word wage is in the parable about the workers in the vineyard, another parable rich in economic references.

Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 20:2 And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 20:3 When it was about nine o’clock in the morning, he went out again and saw others standing around in the marketplace without work. 20:4 He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and I will give you whatever is right.’ 20:5 So they went. When he went out again about noon and three o’clock that afternoon, he did the same thing. 20:6 And about five o’clock that afternoon he went out and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why are you standing here all day without work?’ 20:7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go and work in the vineyard too.’ 20:8 When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give the pay starting with the last hired until the first.’ 20:9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each received a full day’s pay. 20:10 And when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each one also received the standard wage. 20:11 When they received it, they began to complain against the landowner, 20:12 saying, ‘These last fellows worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the hardship and burning heat of the day.’ 20:13 And the landowner replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage? 20:14 Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last man the same as I gave to you. 20:15 Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 20:16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The Gospels make it clear that people deserve their pay…

Luke 10:7 Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they give you, for the worker deserves his pay. Do not move around from house to house.


Debt (6) / Debtor (3) / Creditor

Without credit and debt the modern economic system would be unrecognizable.  Not surprisingly, borrowing and lending are well represented in the Gospels as well.  The Gospels’ texts would put the world economic system on its head if followed to the letter.  Lend and expect nothing back?  Give to the one who asks and do not reject them?  Not likely.

Trump as a real estate mogul certainly has borrowed lots of money, at least through his companies. And his bankruptcies have shown that the legal system often allows debts to be excused.

Luke 7:36 Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 7:37 Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. 7:38 As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil. 7:39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 7:40 So Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 7:41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. 7:42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 7:43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”


Borrow

This passage is not going to go far in today’s system.

Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.


Lend (4)

Being a banker is also tough to square with the following.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people.


Repay (5) / Repaid (6)

According to the Gospels, apparently we should lend only to those from whom we don’t expect to be repaid.  A very intriguing take on who lends money to whom.  Were the crooked mortgage lending passages of the 2000’s actually these passages in action? Music to Trump’s ears?

6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full.


Can we find the president in the following?

The Parable of the Clever Steward

Luke 16:1 Jesus also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who was informed of accusations that his manager was wasting his assets. 16:2 So he called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Turn in the account of your administration, because you can no longer be my manager.’ 16:3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What should I do, since my master is taking my position away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m too ashamed to beg. 16:4 I know what to do so that when I am put out of management, people will welcome me into their homes.’ 16:5 So he contacted his master’s debtors one by one. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 16:6 The man replied, ‘A hundred measures of olive oil.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write fifty.’ 16:7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ The second man replied, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 16:8 The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries than the people of light. 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by how you use worldly wealth, so that when it runs out you will be welcomed into the eternal homes.

16:10 “The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 16:11 If then you haven’t been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will entrust you with the true riches? 16:12 And if you haven’t been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you your own? 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”


Withdraw(ing)/Deposit (2)

In the following passage we see a reference to a banking transaction. Can we imagine Trump? Positively?

Luke 19:21 For I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You withdraw what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.’


Accounts (4)

In this fascinating passage we can wonder who is “he” and who is the “manager”…

Luke 16:2 So he called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Turn in the account of your administration, because you can no longer be my manager.’

Trump and Economics In the Gospels – Installment #4 of 20 – Management

Management (Jesus’ Instructions)

Probably the “toughest” section of this book for people to take is this one as it contains the unvarnished instructions of the boss of the Gospels.  It should be no surprise that the words are often difficult, even impossible for most of us, to live by. This includes Trump as it includes most everybody else.

The economic lessons are sometimes difficult to discern though each passage has some basis in an economic axiom, and may be at odds with modern economic practice.  This is where the “rubber meets the road” in terms of the metaphysical/philosophical meeting the physical realties of economics.

This section of the book breaks from the counting of words and tries instead to discuss categories of instructions.


Give Up and Follow

One of the most striking aspects of the Gospels is the way people have the tendency to drop everything they are doing and follow Jesus – on the spot.  They drop their nets, their businesses, their jobs, their possessions, everything.

Matthew 4:19 He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.” 4:20 They left their nets immediately and followed him. 4:21 Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. Then he called them. 4:22 They immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.

Luke 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth. “Follow me,” he said to him. 5:28 And he got up and followed him, leaving everything behind.

And then Jesus tells them they need to drop even more, including their families, dead parents, everything – even their lives.

Mark 8:34 Then Jesus called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. 8:36 For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life? 8:37 What can a person give in exchange for his life?

Matthew 8:21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 8:22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Not what most modern Christians (or clergy) consider reasonable as they value their possessions, their families, their jobs, their lives.

Mark 10:28 Peter began to speak to him, “Look, we have left everything to follow you!”


Divorce

What Jesus had to say about divorce took things to a different level.  Jesus leaves little wiggle room for today’s practices and divorce law prescribing the splitting of assets, alimony, child support, etc. Obviously society has moved significantly, as has Trump’s example it would seem

Mark 10:2 Then some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 10:3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 10:4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 10:5 But Jesus said to them, “He wrote this commandment for you because of your hard hearts. 10:6 But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female. 10:7 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, 10:8 and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10:10 In the house once again, the disciples asked him about this. 10:11 So he told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 10:12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”


Oaths

Imagine our economic and legal systems without oaths.  Hard to do.  Jesus advises against oaths of any kind.  Apparently one’s word should be sufficient. How does Trump do against this standard?

Matthew 5:33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 5:34 But I say to you, do not take oaths at all – not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, 5:35 not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 5:36 Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. 5:37 Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one.

Notice in the following the importance of gold, the altar, the throne, a gift, the Temple, ultimately even God  in the discussion.

Matthew 23:16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple is bound by nothing. But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by the oath.’ 23:17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 23:18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it he is bound by the oath.’ 23:19 You are blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 23:20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 23:21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and the one who dwells in it. 23:22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and the one who sits on it.


Giving

Giving is encouraged in the Gospels – anonymously.

 Matthew 6:1 “Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 6:2 Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. 6:3 But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 6:4 so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

 Luke 11:41 But give from your heart to those in need, and then everything will be clean for you.


Don’t Worry

Worrying is almost a sin in itself.  Bobby McFerrin would likely approve.

 Matthew 6:34 So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

 Luke 12:29 So do not be overly concerned about what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things. 12:30 For all the nations of the world pursue these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

21:34 “But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap.


Warnings to Disciples

Being a disciple is going to be rough.

 Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

 Mark 13:9 “You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over to councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them.


Top Commandments

Perhaps the most difficult, and yet most famous lessons of the Gospels, is the discussion of the top commandments.  Loving God is most important, but right after is loving your neighbor and your enemies.

But it goes further to insist that one should not try to get their possessions back from someone who takes them away.  Major sections of civil and criminal law would be unnecessary if this were at all practicable in our current system(s).

Matthew 22:34 Now when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together. 22:35 And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him: 22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 22:39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 22:40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

6:30 Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away. 6:31 Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.

 15:17 This I command you – to love one another.


Admonishments to the Pharisees and Experts in the Law

Jesus had little patience with the lawyers and clergy of his day.

Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 23:2 “The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. 23:3 Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 23:4 They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. 23:5 They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. 23:6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 23:7 and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’

Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


The Judgment

This passage in Matthew uses several economic metaphors (and paradoxes) to drive home the message including a throne, the shepherd, sheep and goats, a king and his kingdom, hunger and food, drink, clothing, and invitation to come inside (presumably a house), healthcare, prison.  It then goes on to allude to the benefits of compassion, and the rewards thereof.

And for those uncompassionate souls, it’s not good…

Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’

25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 25:46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


Evils

The list of evils is a difficult list to avoid completely and self-created from within apparently.

Mark 7:18 He said to them, “Are you so foolish? Don’t you understand that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him? 7:19 For it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and then goes out into the sewer.” (This means all foods are clean.) 7:20 He said, “What comes out of a person defiles him. 7:21 For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 7:22 adultery, greed, evil, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, pride, and folly. 7:23 All these evils come from within and defile a person.”


Sell Your Possessions and Give

Probably the most difficult for Capitalists is the instruction to give away all possessions.  Imagine the impact on our global economic system if we followed this passage to the letter, and its logical ends. This parable has lessons that almost none can follow and would seem to be a particular stretch for Trump and most with large amounts to lose.

Luke 18:18 Now a certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18:19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 18:21 The man replied, “I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth.” 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 18:23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy. 18:24 When Jesus noticed this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 18:25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 18:26 Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?” 18:27 He replied, “What is impossible for mere humans is possible for God.” 18:28 And Peter said, “Look, we have left everything we own to follow you!” 18:29 Then Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of God’s kingdom 18:30 who will not receive many times more in this age – and in the age to come, eternal life.”


Do Not Judge

Another tough one to live by, and close to impossible to imagine, is our modern economic system with its implementation. Trump here?

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.


The Golden Rule

The most important passage in the Gospels for Christians?

Matthew 7:12 In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.

Garden of Nepal – Jewelry by And For Human Trafficking Victims And Prevention

Click here to enter the store!

As Human Trafficking Prevention Month draws to a close we are pleased to announce the grand reopening of the Garden of Nepal jewelry store, in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day with great promotions and deals for your special someone.

 

Necklaces

 

In the store you can shop for beautiful bangles, necklaces, sets, and more.

 

Click here to shop for Garden of Nepal’s Necklaces

 

 

Bangles

 

Sales from the Garden of Nepal go to human trafficking prevention awareness programs and the employment of human trafficking victims in Nepal.

Click here to shop for Garden of Nepal’s Bangles

 

 

Jewelry Sets

Great prices for Valentine’s Day! 25% off the entire store, a $10 coupon for purchases over $50, plus free shipping on orders of $25 or more!

Click here to shop for Garden of Nepal’s Jewelry Sets

With awareness programs on human trafficking in remote Nepali villages, Garden of Nepal, and its sister organization Garima Nepal, are letting potential victims know why girls are being sold and how it can be prevented.

Awareness programs are being held in Sindhupalchowk and Nuwakot districts because a very high number of girls are being sold from these villages. In 2018 more than a dozen such programs are being organized through Garima Nepal, Garden of Nepal’s sister organization, with the help of the TheoEco Institute.

To see an actual awareness program in action click here.

And remember, there’s no reason you can’t buy a Valentine’s Day present for that very, VERY special someone:

YOURSELF!

From the Front Lines of Human Trafficking Prevention – Garima Nepal

We would like to share a new video of an actual Human Trafficking Awareness Program featuring Garima Nepal’s President, Devi Nepali. Here we see Devi doing what she is most passionate about–interacting with at-risk girls, and villagers, as she describes the risks at a recent awareness program in Sindhupalchok, Nepal, outside Kathmandu. We are also getting ready for the reopening of the Garden of Nepal jewelry bazaar, a great way to support the cause as Valentine’s Day approaches.

The video can be found at https://vimeo.com/252906077 where we find Devi in a Tamang village after a several hour four-wheel-drive trek through the foothills of the Himalayas, where many of the world’s largest mountains are ubiquitous in the background. We meet Bimala, a young girl who does not know her age, and who is not going to school. We also see other children at their chores and running to fetch water, a half hour ritual that entails going down the hill with containers to bring back the H2O as there is no running water nearby.

As we go on we are taken on a tour of the village to a brand-new church where the presentation will take place. But first we visit the old sanctuary to get an idea of what the new facility just replaced. This program is done cooperatively with Golgotha Church in Kathmandu (Anglican) and the new sanctuary is part of the growing Christian community. Finally, we meet Bimala’s older sister, who is even more at-risk as she is older and also not attending school. We hear their story through Devi and find it all a bit hard to believe–that children, especially girls, are not going to school, and are often abandoned to their grandparents or other family members, making them both poorly educated and impoverished and therefore easy prey for human traffickers. See for yourself the situation in this three and half minute excerpt from TheoEco’s documentary: The Flourishing Kathmandu Church.

Garima Nepal is looking to significantly expand its activities in 2018 to increase its Human Trafficking Awareness Programs and its Children’s Education Fund for at-risk children in and around the Kathmandu Valley. This includes multi-media presentations in far-flung villages where education is often non-existent for young girls (and boys), a root cause of human trafficking. TheoEco is heavily involved with the awareness programs, sponsoring presentations inside and outside the Kathmandu Valley where more than a dozen such programs are planned in 2018.

So, as we approach the end of this year’s Human Trafficking Prevention Month take a look at Garima Nepal’s new website: GarimaNepal.org. Here you can find links to donate directly to Garima Nepal via your contributions through TheoEco, a 501(c)(3) organization. You’ll be helping Garima Nepal and TheoEco, which passes 100% of all donations directly to our partners in Nepal.

And get ready for the grand reopening of Garden of Nepal’s jewelry bazaar which will launch this coming Tuesday, a full two weeks in advance of February 14th with great promotions deals for your special someone.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month And Garima Nepal

Did you know January 2018 is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, proclaimed by President Trump and carrying on a tradition President Obama began in 2011. Who says bi-partisanship is exhausted!

On this occasion, we are pleased to announce our relationship with the newest anti-human trafficking organization in Nepal: Garima Nepal (Glory of Nepal). Garima Nepal is the outgrowth of the Christian community in the Kathmandu Valley which TheoEco has been working with for several years now, though it is a secular, government certified non-profit organization which expects to complete its registration with the Society Welfare department of the Nepali government in February 2018. This is the equivalent of a 501(c)(3) status here in the USA so contributions made to them through TheoEco will be fully tax deductible.

Please read on for the latest Garima Nepal newsletter for news from the human trafficking front lines in Nepal. Please note we present the latest from Devi and Kishan in unedited form, so you can connect with them in an unadulterated way.

Also, take a look at the new website TheoEco is helping them build at www.GarimaNepal.org.

Lastly, be on the lookout next week for an expanded jewelry selection from Garden of Nepal, just in time for Valentines Day!


Dear Friends, Happy New Year to all of you.

This December was very joyful and blessed month for our Organization GARIMA NEPAL. We went picnic in Godawari, Lalitpur. We gave thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness with us for whole year of 2017. We also submitted the year 2018 to his hands. We believe that he will lead Garima Nepal Organization to the green pasture and the still water in this year. He will be faithful to provide for all our needs. We all prepared different types of food from our home and share in the picnic. All the foods were so delicious. We had a great time of knowing and praying for each other.


Christmas Feast and Gifts with Our Sindhupalchowk Children


Human trafficking awareness program @ Sindhupalchowk “Baramchi-3”

We conducted awareness program in one of the government school in Baramchi-3, Sindhupalchowk. More than 100 people and guardians of the students attended the program.

They were so thankful for bringing this awareness program to their locality. They loved the awareness program with the movie related to it. This December was very much blessed month for our Organization GARIMA NEPAL.

With Blessings, Devi and Kishan

Trump and Economics In the Gospels – Installment #3 of 20 – Labor

This review is taken from a study titled Economics in the Gospels which presents a view of the Gospel Economy and with it analogies to current day mixed economies and Capitalism.

The study of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the rest of the Bible, provides “nuggets” of relevant economic commentary – some of the earliest Jewish thought on money that the world has.  The economic lessons are not paramount to the writers, for the most part – and yet there they are.  So obvious, and yet largely overlooked. As this all relates to Donald Trump, we leave to the reader.

A review of ancient writings, not just Judeo-Christian, for economic lessons may be useful for economists.  Current economic theory and practice have shown weakness as recently as the “Great Recession” and housing crash.

As Donald Trump is so associated with economics, his financial success, as well as his oft noted association with The Wharton School, financial and economic success is perhaps his major qualification. So, it would seem to make sense that analogies to the Gospels can be made, at least for the fun of it, if nothing else. We have also added the occasional hyperlink when appropriate.

The accumulator of all contained herein, Steve Richards, is an Independent politically, and is hopefully as unbiased as possible as it pertains to a scholarly review of the Gospels.

Please note that throughout this book we break down the texts into specific words that have an economic context and also list in parentheses the number of times we find its mention.  If we only find it once in all the Gospels there is no number.

Labor

The Gospels contain a rich assortment of various professions with close to fifty counted, ranging from the most recognized, like fishermen, to the most despised, the Pharisees, to the lowest on the ladder, slaves, to the top, governors, rulers and the like.

Where is Trump found in these passages? Seemingly everywhere from the standpoint that it is easy to see many of these jobs as either a metaphor, a foil, or other contextual roles for him. What job would he have held, or been ascribed to him, is interesting to try to discern. Perhaps it is Governor (Pilate), King (Herod), Caesar, Hired Hand, Shepherd, Ruler, the list goes on. Perhaps some of each. Trump and the Presidency are multi-faceted and not easily found in the Gospels, nor in Roman Times, nor in Jesus’ space and time. There was no democracy in the Gospels.

This panoply allows most people in today’s economy to find some job they can relate to – something analogous.  Lawyers are well represented as “Experts in the Law”, bankers might see themselves as the money changers, and tax collectors, well, are tax collectors.  Below is a list of most of the identifiable jobs mentioned, as they might relate to Trump.

Shepherds (6)

Trump as shepherd for his base? Herding sheep is one of the first jobs mentioned in the Gospels. 

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 

Luke 2:8 Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. 

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 10:12 The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them.

Hired Hand (2)

The comparison of the shepherd to the hired hand on the other hand demonstrates a well-worn economic reality.  Presumably the shepherd is an owner or in some way cares much more about the sheep than the hired hand. 

10:13 Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away.

Soldier (21)

Trump closely associates with soldiers and the military. Unfortunately, there are many instances in the Gospels of Roman soldiers doing the “dirty work” of the “powers that be” and rarely shown in a good light.  

Luke 23:36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine,

Officers (12)

The officers mentioned in the Gospels also “do the dirty work” leading the soldiers. Trump is surrounded by them through his choices for Secretary of Defense (General Mattis), National Security Adviser (General McMaster who replaced General Flynn), Chief of Staff (General Kelly), and others. 

John 18:12 Then the squad of soldiers with their commanding officer and the officers of the Jewish leaders arrested Jesus and tied him up.

Guard (23)

And then there are the guards. 

18:18 (Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire they had made, warming themselves because it was cold. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.)

King (48)

In the Gospels we are constantly struck by references to the Kingdom of God, and to Jesus and God in their capacity as kings of that realm.  We try to stay away from such uses of the terms except in passages where it is overly difficult to do so and there are several passages with earthly and physical kings. Trump as king? 

Matthew 2:9 After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was.

Ruler (28)

Similarly, the use of the term ruler is frequent in the Gospels both in the physical and heavenly. Trump would seem to be frustrated at the limits to the term as it relates to the American presidency. 

John 7:50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before and who was one of the rulers, said, 7:51 “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless it first hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?”

Governor (20) / Pilate (56)

The Governor/Pilate is often featured in the Gospels, principally as the reluctant judge of Jesus. 

Matthew 27:14 But he did not answer even one accusation, so that the governor was quite amazed.

Caesar (8)

The ultimate king of the earthly realm (Roman Empire) was Caesar.  The Gospels don’t argue this point; they just point to a higher authority. Perhaps the best analogy to the American president. 

John 19:15 Then they shouted out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your king?” The high priests replied, “We have no king except Caesar!”

Pharisees (79)/Jewish Leaders (29)

As the primary recipients of Jesus’ rebukes, the foremost antagonists in the Gospels are the Pharisees, followed closely by the “experts in the law” who they frequently ran with.  The Pharisees have a complex role throughout the Gospels. 

Matthew 9:11 When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 

John 9:22 (His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders. For the Jewish leaders had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.

They clearly saw Jesus as their enemy… 

Matthew 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted against him, as to how they could assassinate him. 

Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and planned together to entrap him with his own words. 

John 5:16 Now because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began persecuting him. 5:17 So he told them, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” 

John 7:32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things about Jesus, so the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 

John 18:3 So Judas obtained a squad of soldiers and some officers of the chief priests and Pharisees. They came to the orchard with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Though there are a few instances where the Pharisees are seen in a positive light, such as with Nicodemus.  

Luke 13:31 At that time, some Pharisees came up and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, because Herod wants to kill you.” 

John 3:1 Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, 3:2 came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Sadducees (9)

The Sadducees are usually found with the Pharisees when mentioned in the Gospels, with similar disdain. 

Matthew 16:1 Now when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.

High Priest (33)

The High Priest is seen in the Gospels almost exclusively as the chief persecutor of Jesus, during his end days. 

Matthew 26:62 So the high priest stood up and said to him, “Have you no answer? What is this that they are testifying against you?”

Chief Priest (53)

Again, the priests are the arch villains of the Gospels. 

Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests

12:10 So the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus too,

Experts in the Law (55)

Poor lawyers – they are mentioned in the Gospels with great frequency but with little affection.  Not much seems to have changed over the past 2,000 years.  In the Gospels they are almost always mentioned in the company of the high priests and the Pharisees.  They were at the top of the food chain, so to speak, and a major target of the Gospels’ narrative. Trump’s world, is seemingly filled with experts in the law. 

Mark 12:38 In his teaching Jesus also said, “Watch out for the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, 12:39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 12:40 They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. These men will receive a more severe punishment.” 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25 Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 10:26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you understand it?” 10:27 The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” 10:28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Luke 10:29 But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 10:30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half dead. 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, but when he saw the injured man he passed by on the other side. 10:32 So too a Levite, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 10:33 But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. 10:34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 10:35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’ 10:36 Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 10:37 The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Judge (9) / Magistrate (1) / Warden (1)

The legal profession overall is well represented in the Gospels with several mentions of judges and their ilk.  In fact, Pilate himself is largely remembered as Jesus’ judge. Trump’s issues with judges is well documented and ongoing. 

Luke 12:58 As you are going with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, so that he will not drag you before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.

Tax Collector (22)

Tax collectors, though apparently hated more than just about anybody back in the Gospels’ times, are spoken of affectionately, with Matthew a tax collector himself.  They and other despised professions were often chosen by Jesus to be his closest associates, in juxtaposition to the “well-healed” leaders of society, from which Jesus largely kept his distance. Trump’s history with tax matters, his returns, his tax act, and presumably tax collectors, is enigmatic and presumably deep. 

Mark 2:15 As Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s home, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.  2:16 When the experts in the law and the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

Luke 18:9 Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else. 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 18:13 The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’ 18:14 I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Business Partners (1)

Business was apparently as much a part of the Gospels’ time as today and Trump has been partners to many in his businesses.  The next passage makes clear that Simon (Peter) was a businessman, at least before he became an apostle. 

Luke 5:10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”

Managers (9)

Then, as now, managerial skills were esteemed. Certainly, one of Trump’s presumed primary virtues is his managerial skill. Skill which has come into question as president. 

Luke 12:42 The Lord replied, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his household servants, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?

Master (46)

At the top of the labor force were the masters, mentioned frequently in the Gospels. 

15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father.

Servant (24)

Slaves and servants are the most oft talked about job in the Gospels.  They are very important as receivers of several Jesus’ healings, at the request of their bosses, who are shown to have great faith.

Mother Mary refers to herself as a servant.  

Luke 1:48 because he has looked upon the humble state of his servant.

For from now on all generations will call me blessed,

Many servants reach positions of high responsibility, position, and are valued confidants.  The disciples themselves are also spoken of as servants, as in the following passage. 

Mark 9:35 After he sat down, he called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Hired Men

Another expression for servant is hired men… 

Mark 1:20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Doorkeeper (3)

And then there was the keeper of the door. Trump presumably interacts with many doorkeepers in his personal, political, and business lives. 

John 18:17 The girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You’re not one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” He replied, “I am not.”

Slave (79)

Many mentions of slaves are made in the Gospels, often in terms of reverence – they play key roles in the parables and are often the focal point.             

Matthew 20:26 It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, 20:27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave – 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Mark 10:44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all.

Luke 17:10 So you too, when you have done everything you were commanded to do, should say, ‘We are slaves undeserving of special praise; we have only done what was our duty.’” 

Call to Faithful Stewardship

Luke 12:35 “Get dressed for service and keep your lamps burning; 12:36 be like people waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 12:37 Blessed are those slaves whom their master finds alert when he returns! I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, have them take their place at the table, and will come and wait on them! 12:38 Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night and finds them alert, blessed are those slaves! 12:39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 12:40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

12:41 Then Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?” 12:42 The Lord replied, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his household servants, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 12:43 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds at work when he returns. 12:44 I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 12:45 But if that slave should say to himself, ‘My master is delayed in returning,’ and he begins to beat the other slaves, both men and women, and to eat, drink, and get drunk, 12:46 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the unfaithful. 12:47 That servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or do what his master asked will receive a severe beating. 12:48 But the one who did not know his master’s will and did things worthy of punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.

High Priest’s Slave (6)

Not just any slave, but the slave of the high priest.  In this case the slave gets his ear cut off as Judas was betraying Jesus.  Jesus immediately healed the ear. 

Luke 22:50 Then one of them struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear.

Slave of Sin (1)

Aren’t we all… 

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin.

Slave Girl (6)

Sometimes, slaves are featured as a kind of catalyst in the story.   Neither good nor bad, but they are key… 

Mark 14:66 Now while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s slave girls came by. 14:69 When the slave girl saw him, she began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.”

Wise Men (5)

The wise men are some of the most enigmatic of all the “professions” in the Gospels.  They lend credibility to the birth and bring presents, also of interest from and economist’s perspective, especially the gold. One can have fun imagining the interaction of them with Trump. 

Matthew 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2:2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Messenger (6)

Jesus is seen as a messenger himself as was John the Baptist, figuratively speaking.  Though in the literal Gospel passage below, it is a job of taking messages from one place to another, just as today. 

Luke 7:24 When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

Spies

Spying is nothing new either. Trumps interaction with the CIA points to the fact that the profession is alive and well today. 

Luke 20:20 Then they watched him carefully and sent spies who pretended to be sincere. They wanted to take advantage of what he might say so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.

Bankers

This one mention is exceedingly interesting from a financial system point of view.  Trump’s dealings with bankers is well documented and part of the job in the real estate business as well as his presidency. 

Matthew 25:27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest!

Head Steward (2)

The head steward appears to have a similar job today – arranging for the wine. Trump is presumably well acquainted with wine stewards at his fine dining restaurants.

John 2:8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did.

Reapers

The reapers are mentioned in the Parable of the Weeds and in the explanation below as angels.

Matthew 13:36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 13:37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 13:38 The field is the world and the good seed are the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 13:39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 13:40 As the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes sin as well as all lawbreakers. 13:42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears had better listen!

Peacemakers

One of the most famous passages in the Gospels feature the peacemakers. Time will tell how this job relates to Trump. 

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.