Jesus had a lot to say about money, possessions, care for those who are impoverished, and care for those whose bodies are hungry or sick. And those things he said never supported the status quo. They never championed the wealthy. They never legitimized any excuse for not feeding or not healing.
Jesus said that loving God was not enough, but that one must love neighbor as well. He was undaunted by large numbers or seemingly hopeless situations. He raised people from the dead. He stopped long-endured bleeding, healed disease, and opened blind eyes. He described the difficulty of entering heaven wealthy by comparing it to a camel going through the eye of a needle. He honored Lazarus and left the wealthy man unnamed and eternally separated from all that was good. And when asked whether Christians should pay taxes he said yes, reminding his followers that currency belongs to the state. “Render unto Caesar,” he said.
Those who follow Jesus choose a difficult path. It is one that requires attention to those things that Jesus valued. And Jesus valued people and not possessions. He valued health and not wealth. He valued peace and not prosperity. He valued community and not empire. Walking with Jesus is difficult and disorienting. Making straight a path for the risen Lord in the midst of the wilderness we see around us takes a great deal of effort and commitment.
The Road Work is difficult. It requires all sorts of warnings and cautions. We must be alert.
This project will provide you with resources to help your own faith community do a better job of paying attention. It will help you lead your faith community to discover the connection between living as followers of Jesus and overthrowing systems that are unjust and that sustain oppression. It will help you lead your faith community to consider the ways in which they can advocate for the most vulnerable, hungry, and fragile in the neighborhoods around your church or just behind the elementary school or near the corner of the highway; it will help you lead your faith community to dream about how advocacy for a system of taxation that prioritizes provision of care for the impoverished makes straight in the wilderness the path of Jesus.
Here you will find
- A resource called “From Jerusalem to Jericho: Christian Witness on the Tax-Sustained Road.” It was written in 2013 and explores the understanding of taxation within Christian traditions and denominations. It is a helpful academic resource full of citations.
- “Make Straight the Path: Jesus and Taxes,” which includes Lectionary helps for Advent Year B as well as a collection of references to various relevant teachings of Jesus.
- “Road Signs,” which provides a collection of articles, news stories, about taxes and their impact on the impoverished, powerful graphics, and data from the Justice Center.
Please be in touch with us to suggest additional resources or ideas!
From Jerusalem to Jericho: Christian Witness on the Tax-Sustained Road
From Jerusalem to Jericho
This compelling 13-page document draws tax policies into conversation with Scripture passages, Church theologians, and denominational statements. Originally published in 2013, the Biblical reflections and theological perspectives found within it’s pages are as relevant as ever.
Make Straight the Path: Jesus and Taxes
Introduction of Advent Liturgical Resources
During this season of reconciling our hearts and wallets, we invite you to lead worship in a manner that draws attention to the economic significance of Jesus’ purpose and mission. These advent resources – containing sermon notes and suggested themes, hymns and worship songs, and other worship resources – connect Jesus economics to tax policy in general, and to the current proposals for tax reform before the U.S. Senate.
Road Signs: Articles, Blogs, and Images
Winners and Losers of the Senate Tax Bill
Published by Forbes and written by Tony Nitti, CPA, this highlights and explains some of the specific numbers (percentages, limits) found in the Senate version of the tax bill, and describes what must happen in reconciliation.
What You Need To Know About The Current Tax Bill
Published by Forbes and written by Jenna Arnold, prior to the Senate’s vote on the tax bill, this article highlights opposition to the changes proposed in the bill.
Economists Say The Trump Tax Plan Will Have Disastrous Consequences
Published by Forbes and written by John T. Harvey, professor of Economics at Texas Christian University, this article highlights an open letter from 100 Economists. It also explains concerns about the “Economists” cited by the administration as supporting the bill. He criticizes the tax plan as “completely upside down” and encourages contact with representatives during this period of reconciliation.
The Senate passes a tax bill
Published by the Economist, this article addresses the significance of the 1.5 trn deficit projected to result from the Senate tax bill.
The Economic Impact of the Republican Tax Cuts
Richard Gurley is Executive Vice President & member of Founding Team at WelbeHealth. This blog examines GDP growth in relation to corporate tax cuts and tax cuts for wealthy Americans. It contains useful graphics.
The GOP Tax Cuts Are Even More Unpopular Than Past Tax Hikes
FiveThirtyEight presents data comparing the popularity of the tax cuts in the Senate bill with the popularity of other tax policy changes since the Regan Era.
From Tax Rates to Deductions: Comparing The House & Senate Bills To Current Law
Published by Forbes and written by Kelly Phillips Erb, JD, this article compares the House and Senate versions of the bill to the current tax law. Erb’s treatment of critical aspects of the legislation including expiration, tax rates, and common deductions such as mortgage, charitable giving, income tax, and medical expenses is concise and helpful.
Another delicate challenge for Republicans: Reconciling House and Senate tax bills
Published by the Washington Post, this article examines the process of reconciling the House and Senate versions of the tax bill.
What is reconciliation?
This is a short explanation of reconciliation from the Tax Policy Center.
AARP Opposes Senate Tax Bill
Published by the AARP, this article contains the open letter in which the AARP opposed the tax bill because of it’s impact on older filers.
Here are 7 differences Republicans must resolve between their tax bills
Published by the Washington Post, this article highlights seven differences between the House and Senate versions of the tax bill which require reconciliation. This is an important resource for contacting representatives during this reconciliation process.
Contact your Senator and Representative to Save Johnson Amendment Protections
This link contains information about the Johnson Amendment that will help you contact your representatives. This is especially important during this period of reconciliation.
Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Trump’s Devastating Budget Cuts
Explore a series featured at Sojourners (sojo.net) entitled: Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Trump’s Devastating Budget Cuts. While their connection to the specifics of tax reform varies, they provide a Christian witness in economic discussions and are therefore are an important part of our efforts to talk about tax policy.
Christians Arrested Reading Scripture in Senate Office Building
This is a video of Christians being arrested for reading scripture verses about the poor. They were opposing the Senate tax bill.
Tell your representative: No more tax cuts for the rich
This is a helpful model for contacting your representative during the reconciliation period. If you know that your representative will oppose the tax bill as it is, please take the time to offer your thanks. Otherwise please use what is found here to craft a letter asking your representative to make significant changes during reconciliation.