The Art of the Good Life has alerted us to a fine video interview with Philip Goodchild on the relationship between theology and money. Far from being completely unrelated spheres of human experience, Goodchild very convincingly argues that the organisation of societies around money is actually underpinned by variations of a theology, dogma and set of articles of collective faith in a manner similar to many religious traditions.
Concisely going through the mechanics of the most recent financial crisis, Goodchild concludes in this interview that what is being experienced is far from a technical problem, but a fundamental crisis of faith which is not very different from the kinds of crises experienced in religious traditions.
Whether conscious or otherwise, Goodchild seems to draw on Jacques Derrida when referring to the need for a new “game” to replace the failed “game” of our current financial system, and how theology can be an aid to providing the grammar for this new “game”. However, if this Derridian theme is to be played out comprehensively, the mention of a new “game” will immediately implicate into this current crisis the communitarian context within which such a game can be played out. In other words, Goodchild’s observation for need for a new “game” requires also a new socioeconomic configuration where the Body of Christ must come out of its hermetically sealed confines and play an indispensable public role. For if theology is what underpins the use of money, it is only in the Church as a publicly visible political configuration where a proper understanding of money can be performed.
The familiar catch cries of “separation of Church and State” will re-emerge at the mention of such a prospect, but such a prospect is unavoidable if what Goodchild says is true, and if such a repeat of such a crisis understood along Goodchild’s lines is to be avoided. What may be more helpful then would be a discussion of just how the inherently sacramental nature of the Church can be harmonised both with the organic life of socioeconomic communities and the bureaucratic procedures emanating from the policy structures of the civic body.