I'm working on a book right now called Jesus is for Losers. The book takes a look at the competitively-obsessed culture in which we live, and then imagines and dreams and asks questions about how we could live if we took seriously Jesus' call to lose our lives for the sake of the kingdom.
Chapter 7 is about our obsession with money and how we try and win life through wealth (made plain by the recent events on Wall Street). I think that if we are really going to follow Jesus, we need to quit worrying about money, learn to live with a little less, and be willing to give it away. I have this idea about how we could be better stewards with our money, but it requires a willingness to work for the common good of all people, and a commitment to covenant together with others seeking to live another way.
Here's the idea of radical financial redistribution.
I would like to start a non-profit agency (the Losers' Club) that helps people pay off their debts, then frees them to give. If someone wanted to join the Losers' Club, their debts (except for mortgage) would be paid off. A couple of friends would assist the family in figuring out how much each month they spent paying on debt (credit, cars, loans, etc.), and pay it off in total. The family would then commit to paying 30% of what they were paying in monthly debt expenses back to the Losers' Club to help others pay off debt. Another 30% would be encouraged to be saved and help with the stuff that comes up on a month-to-month basis. Another 30% would be given to an organization that directly works in a third world country. The final 10% should be given to the local church or an organization in the city working with the poor, hungry, needy.
The families who willingly participate would commit to paying towards someone else's freedom for at least 3 years. Maybe longer. What if they loved the idea and gave for the rest of their lives?
Here's the hard part.
In my mind, the Losers' Club needs about $1 million seed money, spending $750,000 in the first couple of months paying off multiple families debt, so they can immediately start giving back and giving away. There would come a point when the seed money could actually be repaid (ideally), when there are enough families giving on a regular basis to pay off 1-2 families per month.
In my heart, I believe that those who follow Jesus really want to give more, but often find themselves trapped by past decisions. If we can free them from those debts, encouraging simpler living and accountability, I believe that we could really help the needy, poor, and broken around the world.
So, does anybody know a millionaire with a big heart?