I heard that we are defined by our relationships. If that's true then I am: a son, brother, husband, lover, friend, Christian, organizer, agitator, thinker, reader, songsmith, Richmonder, until recently a Coloradan, before that a West Virginian.
In Deuteronomy 15, God creates the economic system of Israel: if there’s anyone among you who is poor, lend to her without interest. On top of that, every seventh year cancel all debts. Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrases verses 1-9 this way,
“At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts. This is the procedure: Everyone who has lent money to a neighbor writes it off. You must not press your neighbor or his brother for payment: All-Debts-Are-Canceled—God says so. You may collect payment from foreigners, but whatever you have lent to your fellow Israelite you must write off.
There must be no poor people among you because God is going to bless you lavishly in this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, your very own land. But only if you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, diligently observing every commandment that I command you today. Oh yes—God, your God, will bless you just as he promised. You will lend to many nations but won’t borrow from any; you’ll rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Don’t listen to that selfish voice saying, “It’s almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled,” and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He’ll call God’s attention to you and your blatant sin.”
God intended loans to be made without interest and without the motivation to make money off the borrower. Now lending is a cornerstone of our economy, a billion dollar industry, and debt is a prerequisite to living in society.
College is the key to future success, so take out a loan. Who cares if you have to pay compound interest? Need a car to get to your job? You can make payments. Want a stable home for your family? Take out a mortgage. A little short until payday? There’s a payday loan shop in every neighborhood. These are children of God, preying on children of God.
Flint (For The Unemployed And Underpaid) // Sufjan Stevens