Mission Thought of the Day


Our stewardship course met on Burns night this recently. The text we looked at was about bickering pharisees and a man who tried to hoard his wealth rather than share his windfall. (read it here)

It seems that if Burns invested in anything it was in experiences, and the words to describe them. His sponsors helped him make saints out of cottars, in an era where the nations press ganged people onto warships to built empires. Perhaps the same sponsors saw this as a necessary evil. Perhaps they acted to in a way we could now describe as”expanding the floor of the cage ” (Chomsky z-magazine, April 1997)

The thing I took away from the discussion was that the rich man was extractring wealth from the community, tearing down the house space that woudl have held mother-in-laws, or family members who needed a place to stay while they sorted themselves out. More than this, by storing the surplus rather than making it recirculate as investment in the local economy, he was removing wealth from it. Like a politician who borrows money to develop their country (or make a tracking app), pays themselves and then saves that wage in a swiss bank account so that they can retire comfortably. All legal perhaps, but it is the unrepresented young people and low income workers that will be paying off the debt for generations after the politician has died.

Featured image:
Inside a cottar’s house – Part of a display in the Fife Folk Museum.

“His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,

His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie’s smile”

— Robert Burns, The Cotter’s Saturday Night

© Copyright kim traynor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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