Sunday, December 14, 2008

Financial Advice from Scott Hahn

(Originally written 07/03/2006)

Scott Hahn gives some rare financial advice on his tape series “Calling All Catholics to Be Bible Christians. And Vice Versa”. Scott advises that if you want to make millions then you should invest in Zondervan, Moody, or any number of top Christian book publishers. He points out that Protestant Christians are ravenous readers and Christian book publishing is booming.

By contrast most Catholic publishers seem to be languishing. One major Catholic publisher recently put out a notice to its customers and resellers that it was going into bankruptcy protection, and I’ve heard (I own a bookstore) rumors of several other looming crises with other publishers with whom I deal. In addition I see the appeals from many Catholic publishers for donations & contributions to help them stay solvent.

So what’s the deal? Why are Protestant publishers booming and Catholic publishers bombing? (Allow the generalization for the sake of the discussion.)

Scott gives two reasons. First, Protestant publishers seem to understand the essence of supply-side economics: “If you build it they will come” In other words, the publishers themselves created the boom by building the business and promoting their books. In addition, Protestant church leaders constantly promote books and individual study. Good evidence of that on Guam is the fact that the only bookstore on this mostly Catholic island for many years was a Protestant bookstore.

By contrast, Catholics seem to be stuck in demand-side economics: “I will build it when they come.” This mentality became quite evident to me when I first floated the idea of a Catholic bookstore. I was told many times that it wouldn’t work because “Catholics don’t read.” Maybe I’m part Protestant but my thought was “well we don’t have anything to read”, and that maybe if we had something to read we might read it! In other words, I was confident that supply side economics would work. (It has.)

But Scott’s second point is that Catholics seems to have neglected part of Christ’s command in Mark 12:30:

“And thou shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.”

What is of GREAT interest here is, as Scott points out, is that Jesus is not just repeating the first commandment from Deuteronomy 6:4-5, He actually is amending it, adding to it. The fact that Jesus actually adds to something as well known as the first of the Ten Commandments is worth noting. Here’s the commandment as stated in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.”

Now compare this with the above scripture from Mark. We note that Jesus added “and with thy whole mind”! Why did he add this? What does he mean by “our whole mind”? It appears that Jesus doesn’t just want us to love God (heart), have faith in God (soul), and do His will (strength). He also now commands us to KNOW God (mind)!

We must impress upon ourselves that every word that comes from the mouth of God is of eternal significance and consequence. Jesus didn’t just throw in “with thy whole mind” just to round out the paragraph. He obviously commanded something here.

We may claim to believe this, but languishing Catholic publishers tell a different story. Compared to our Protestant brethren we are, in general, not as encouraged to read, study, and invest in our faith.
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