Pardon me. This piece is admittedly too clever by half, but then again, so is The Gospel of Wealth.
Two preachers, male and female, both proponents of The Gospel of Wealth, will deliver prayers at Mr. Trump's Presidential Inauguration. These pastors are two out of many very rich American Protestant preachers who believe money is an indicator of God's blessings. The richer you are the more blessed you are, and God wants you to be rich. That's the Gospel of Wealth.
The Gospel of Wealth has scripture on its side. Few people know this, but Jesus was a wealthy man. Let's go to the proof texts:
- As an infant, Jesus was gifted in gold from a traveling and colorful band of Persian Magi. Mary and Joseph wisely invested the bullion and by the time Jesus began his itinerant ministry some decades later, he was worth a fortune (in today's terms, roughly 100 billion dollars).
- When Jesus did begin his journey through Palestine, the devil thought to trip him up by presenting Jesus with all the world's jewels. But since Jesus could have purchased all the world's jewels without much difficulty, the temptation was easily resisted.
- Jesus went out of his way to befriend tax collectors, which was a shrewd scheme to minimize his own tax bracket, although he did encourage bucolic yokels to willingly pay their exorbitant taxes. Enlisting the taxman Matthew among his twelve-member board of directors was one of Jesus' masterstrokes.
- Jesus was a vintner and sommelier of the first order, producing vats and vats of high quality wine, suitable for wedding parties and bar mitzvahs.
- Jesus' oratorical brilliance--flawless diction, enunciation, and his general flair for metaphor--was the product of expensive and selective Roman schools, where Jesus hobnobbed with the children of Roman elites.
- Jesus toured with an array of chefs, offering a surf and turf menu that effortlessly fed many thousands of Jesus' followers who insisted upon dining alfresco in the Galilean hills. Leftovers were collected each time and distributed to the homeless vagabonds of nearby villages.
- Jesus cornered the market on perch and trout, inasmuch as he could infallibly detect when schools of fish were near to his friends' fishing boats.
- In addition to building a split-level hill country house with a view of Sepphoris in his home hamlet of Nazareth (complete with a woodworking shop), Jesus bought waterside acreage in Capernaum on Lake Galilee and also beach front property on the Mediterranean coast in Caesarea, not far from Pontius Pilate's summer home. Jesus built fabulous houses at both sites, employing the best tradesmen and materials, and he ducked in and out of these homes on his many journeys. The Caesarea beach house utilized twenty thousand travertine tiles. And the Capernaum house was made of import cedar and ceramics. You might recall that at Jesus' Capernaum home he was not one bit annoyed when rude-mechanicals tore a gurney-sized hole in his roof and ceiling. Jesus could easily absorb the costs of the repair. Also at the Capernaum home, Jesus kept a large boat, and he often took his friends on sailing adventures on the lake, even in inclement weather.
- Jesus was not alarmed that a woman would anoint him with very expensive oil. In fact, he seemed accustomed to that brand of oil and knew its value.
- Jesus once told his twelve-member board of directors to go tell 'the Fox' King Herod what Jesus was up to. The King was an old family friend, a favorite of Jesus' father Joseph, and as a boy Jesus had nicknamed Herod 'the Fox.'
- Jesus advised his twelve-member board of directors not to carry money, that is, cash. Jesus, as the super-wealthy everywhere, did not carry cash and in fact had to ask for a coin, an emperor-stamped denarius, one time when he had no pocket change.
- Jesus famously said foxes have dens and birds have nests but he had Nowhere to lay his head. 'Nowhere' was the name of a swanky west-end Jerusalem hotel.
- Jesus' attempt to evict the pretentious occupants of the Temple franchises was an ownership dispute.
- Jesus hosted a final and grand meal for his twelve-member board of directors in the chic upper room of a posh Jerusalem establishment.
- Jesus promised mansions to his many followers and he was undaunted by the guaranteed expense of such a scheme.
- Throughout his life, Jesus wore luxurious clothes and shoes. His sandals were double tanned and thrice cured camel leather and were, as suggested by his stroll upon the surface of Lake Galilee, waterproof--or at any rate water resistant. His tunics were seamless Egyptian cotton and the envy of all of Palestine, as confirmed by several Roman soldiers who threw dice to own one of Jesus' used smocks. Mark, in his recollections of Jesus' arrest, said soldiers attired Jesus in a purple robe. But Matthew, in his account, corrects this and let's us know the soldiers outfitted Jesus in a red robe. In point of fact, both Mark and Matthew were correct in that Jesus had first slipped into the purple robe, but seeing that purple was not his color, he quickly asked for and received the red robe, which exploited his skin tone and hair and eye color. He looked good in red and he knew it.