I am done with the literature study for the thesis. In the literature part I examined the current discources on the teachings concerning wealth and faith of Clement of Alexandria, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Augustine. These fathers had specific instructions for the wealthy of their congregations and this moved them into a life of sharing with the poor.
In the second phase of the study I will be conducting interviews with four churches in the Johannesburg area. Today I am working on some of the questions I will be asking. The answers to these questions will be compared with the teachings of the fathers surveyed in the literature study.
The last part of the study will propose some ways to bring our churches in dialogue with the early church's teachings. It is my hope that this could contribute to creative interactions between the rich and the poor in South Africa. So here is the list of proposed interview questions (I will explore them in detail on the blog over the next few weeks):
do you interpret the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10?
you have a friendship with a poor person? Describe the relationship.
are the reasons why we don’t share more with the poor?
you think receiving an inheritance is just or unjust and what should a Christian do with an inheritance?
often are the poor mentioned in your church’s liturgy?
Christians called to give charity or administer justice, what do you think is
the difference between the two?
do you determine between needs and wants?
much should a follower of Jesus give and what percentage of your income do you
addition to these questions the following questions will be asked of the
leaders of the congregations:
often do you preach about the rich’s responsibility towards the poor?
percentage of the church’s budget goes towards the poor?
do you see your role as a leader in engaging with the poor?
How do these questions strike you? What would you add? Which ones are the hardest to answer?