Reflections on God Revealed, Fred Sievert's site (by one who once reported to someone who reported to someone who reported to someone who reported to someone who reported to Fred, before Fred was promoted).
Dr. Paul Shervish from Boston College is a former Jesuit, whose first book was entitled, Gospels of Wealth: How the Rich Portray their Lives. He suggests that we all need to connect "moral compass" and "financial capacity" in how we portray our lives. As we tell our life story, he says, we are seeking to make sense of what we have lived, to see how it orients to a value, a moral quest, a "due north." It is not just that we were successful, the wealthy say, we deserved to be so, it was God's will, God's grace, his guiding hand.
I was raised Catholic. In a child's reading of the Gospels Jesus was not a success. He was born poor and went down from there, to the most abject and shameful death. He said if we wanted to find him we would find him among the poor. If faith does not shake us awake and make us ashamed of what we have been, at how we lived our lives, then how can we repent, reform, and be forgiven? That, I am told by my Protestant theologian friends, is so Catholic as to pitiful. I should be reading Bunyon's Pilgrims Progress, not the Purgatorio.
But I am wondering, if God Revealed is a Gospel of Wealth, and if all good stories have a moral, and some even have a turning point, and a moment of recognition, what is the moral? What is the central recognition? And what was the turning point?
Fred Sievert at New York Life had gravitas. A tall deep voiced man, "good with numbers," and a head as bald a Kojack, he could strike fear into a room full of executives with one word, "results?" As in where are they? Yet while he took the role and his responsibilities seriously, he did not take himself seriously. When it comes to faith, I wonder, if God Revealed will be funny at all? (Serio ludere, serious play?) If Fred could chop carrots in a chef's toque at New York Life, and run along the beach at a life insurance convention in a black suit, in what get up could be proclaim his next revelation? OK, a black suit, but with what kind of hat?