The Message of the Book of Ruth, Part 2

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 in All Sermons & Talks, Bible Studies, Special Events | 3 comments

45 min. This is the second of three special talks by Rev’d John Peck on the book of Ruth, recorded over a three-day period at the Greenbelt Arts Festival. In these talks, John opens up the multidimensional message of the book of Ruth as you’ve never heard it before, and you will find yourself in the presence of someone with an exceptional teaching ministry, not to mention his humor and ability as a storyteller.

In this second of the three talks, John explores the book’s view of politics, government, and law.

[In the first of the three talks, John turned our thoughts to the overlooked dimension of the art of the book of Ruth in relation to its religious context. In the third talk, John opens up the characters’ views of social relations and economics.]



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  1. A very good examination of the artistic nature of the book of Ruth, the way it more or less ignores God explicitly, etc.

    • Thx, Tony. Just to say that your comment refers to the first of the three talks.

      John was the first, and has been the only, preacher I’ve heard who taught that the book of Ruth, not to mention the story of Esther, seems to go out of its way to omit using God language in the narrative. Yet in Ruth, God’s norms for relationships prevail in the beliefs and actions of the characters. And in Esther, God’s will gets done.

  2. This talk definitely reflects small ‘c’, Times reading conservatism of the period, in invoking the spectre of social breakdown (itself a conservative trope used to demonise the prospect of revolution in times of economic crisis) in relation to inflation, without any depth of understanding of where that inflation was coming from in the history of capital, and its already decade long attack on Keynesianism and the welfare state, and the consequent economic stuttering resulting from the throttling of demand caused by public spending cuts and capital flight and capital strikes resulting from the aversion of wealth owners to paying a fair share of tax as well as paying out living wages, and the facilitation of capital flight by the recently joined EEC. There is no modern equivalent of gleaning, as with the sabbatical year, let alone a guaranteed Jubilee year, because business law does not allow it – business law written by and for business owners – which requires businesses to maximise profits, in particular where sharesholders are involved, whose claims on future profits are contracted at the time shares are purchased. Thus there can be no leavings for the community to glean, nor for nature to recuperate and the environment to thrive. Only by taxation and redistribution through the state can the dividend of nature and human ingenuity be shared for the alleviation of poverty, and the recuperation of nature, unless and until wealth is redistributed wholesale to be owned and managed by co-operatives and local communties.

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