Downward Mobility and Trickle-Up Economics: A Trinitarian Reflection on Money and Power
Evangelicalism has struggled to address the structures of racism and poverty, and has often uncritically embraced money and power in pursuit of problematic versions of upward mobility and the American Dream. In view of the political and cultural challenges the movement has faced in recent years, the time is ripe to reevaluate our kingdom allegiances. Rather than being known for desiring power politics and material prosperity that fail to challenge racialization and economic disparity, we ought to be known for holding true to God in Christ—the downwardly mobile God. Drawing from a communal and cruciform model of Trinitarian thought, Paul Louis Metzger calls for “trickle-up economics.” This economic strategy involves developing social businesses among the poor to take ownership of their communities, as reflected in the works of John M. Perkins and Muhammad Yunus.
Paul Louis Metzger teaches at Multnomah University and is the Director of the The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and editor of Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture. His areas of research include Trinitarian theology and theology of culture, and he has published many books and articles, including The Word of Christ and the World of Culture: Sacred and Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth (Eerdmans, 2003); Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology (editor; T&T Clark International, 2005); Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church (Eerdmans, 2007); Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (co-authored with Brad Harper; Brazos, 2009); and A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (co-edited with William F. Storrar and Peter J. Casarella; Eerdmans, 2011). He is also a regular blogger.