Bishop Mark Sisk–We must not serve capitalism ”“ we must make it serve us

There can be little doubt that capitalism is a productive way to order economic life. But we need to remember, as the protestors have reminded us, that that is all that it is — an economic system based on the entirely reasonable propositions that capital has value, and that supply and demand are the most efficient way to set prices. Capitalism is of no help at all in determining what is morally good — that is something that must instead be determined by the community’s wider values.

And there should be no question that when an economic system fails to reflect those communal values, it should be modified and governed until it does. To say, as some do, that any attempt to control or guide our economic system is neither wise nor possible is to admit that an economic system has decisive control of our lives. For a Christian, such an admission would be nothing less than to yield to idolatry. (Though I do not claim deep knowledge of other religious traditions, I suspect that this is true for them as well.) God alone is the One, and the only One, to whom we can concede such ultimate authority. For the non-theist to make the argument that the laws of economics are immutable is to concede that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves. That is the same argument that those in the grip of various kinds of addiction make: “I am not in control, my addiction made me do it.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, TEC Bishops, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

10 comments on “Bishop Mark Sisk–We must not serve capitalism ”“ we must make it serve us

  1. David Keller says:

    “Capitalism can be bad and should be modified to reflect community values” said Bp. Sisk as he read his retirement account statement form the Church Pension Fund, a group run by some of Wall Street’s biggest insiders. Bp. Sisk smiled and winked as he reveiwed the return on his investments, which were noted to not actually be his, becasue he never personally contributed. All conrtibutions were made on his behalf, above and beyond his salary and housing allownace (for which he also received a large Congressionally mandated tax break).

  2. Dan Crawford says:

    Thanks, Mr. Keller, for such a lucid and dispassionate analysis of the substance of what the bishop said. Using the same reasoning, we can pretty much dispose of anyone preaching the substance of the Gospel because the preachers themselves fall short. Maybe that’s why politicians who call themselves Christians don’t particularly care what the Gospel says.

  3. David Keller says:

    #2–Huh? See, this is humor/irony, pointing out the hypocrisy of Bishop Sisk, and most of the liberal clergy of TEC. They have no problem with Wall Street insiders making millions, so long as it personally benefits them.

  4. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    Fortunately, Mr. Crawford, those of us who still adhere to traditional Anglicanism are allowed comfort from the Articles of Religion in regard to hypocrisy emanating from the episcopate. In particular:
    [blockquote] XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.[/blockquote]
    Article 26 alone has made it possible to continue to attend an Episcopal parish. 😉
    Not to apply a moral lens to capitalism; It is simply an acknowledgment of the right to personal property, and of the time value of money. Supply and demand will set prices (or exchange rates for barter if you don’t use money) with or without it. It carries no moral value. It is the people who participate in capitalism that are subject to moral judgement. Bishop Sisk appears to be speaking outside of his competency.

  5. Undergroundpewster says:

    I would not think a churchman should be saying,

    [blockquote] “determining what is morally good — that is something that must instead be determined by the community’s wider values.”[/blockquote]

    I should be shocked, but nothing our clergy says anymore can shock me.

  6. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    No. 5,
    I was struck by that as well. I mean, that worked so well in the Jim Crow South.

  7. Christopher Johnson says:

    Capitalism is of no help at all in determining what is morally good — that is something that must instead be determined by the community’s wider values.

    Then what, Mark? How do you propose to put this idea of yours into effect? Are you, on the basis of “the community’s wider values,” going to pass a law which states that “justice” demands that incomes should be more equitably distributed?

    Whose “justice,” Mark? Yours? The “community’s?” If justice is whatever the “community” wants it to be, then it is not justice but convention. And if the community decides that I have the right to help myself to the money of some “rich” person or business, the community is not producing justice but the gravest injustice it is possible to imagine. Because if they seriously believe that, the community and its chaplains like Mark Sisk and others are telling me that stealing isn’t a sin.

    The Occupier hippies and their cliche-spouting enablers like Sisk are maddeningly short of actual details as to how they would implement whatever their goals are. I guess there’s a good reason for that. When your whole raison d’etre is reflexive, leftist hatred for anybody that has more money than you do, it’s best not to think things through too much.

  8. Katherine says:

    The fact is that misguided government attempts to control and guide our economic system towards desired outcomes are a great part of our present difficulties.

  9. Scatcatpdx says:

    It dawned on me how I can refute Mr. Mark Sisk’s irrational straw man.
    No Mr Sisk we do not serve a capitalist system, we are free to voluntary trade under capitalism, without compulsion. Furthermore I see Mark’s alluding that this a matter is of our mortal soul as disturbing; No sir it is Gods rightful judgment of our sinful rebellion is a matter of our mortal soul. Christ has not died for to “force the market to the ideal of the fascist community” but to free us from the wrath of God.

  10. Sarah says:

    Love his use of “we” and “us.” Of course, capitalism does serve “we” and “us” — just not the “we” and the “us” that Sisk wants.