I Vow To Be Wealthy

For centuries, monks, nuns, and priests have taken numerous vows:  Vows of celibacy, vows of silence, and even vows of poverty.

Of course, the irony in taking a vow of poverty is that most of those that have taken that vow tend to live fairly well.  Granted, they seldom ever end up breaking their vows and become affluent aristocrats.  But they never really have to worry about the traditional things associated with poverty, such as having a roof over their head, clothes on their back, or food in their stomach (unlike people who are actually poor).  For the church essentially guarantees these basic necessities to them... and then some.

In reality, those who take a vow of poverty simply end up forfeiting the right to claim private property for themselves. It's not really a vow to live in poverty per say (though it is called such). Rather it is simply a vow to embrace a communal lifestyle where all resources are shared, and nobody claims ownership over anything. Everything is simply owned in common with everybody else who has taken the same vow.  As one nun says, "It's a vow of poverty, not a vow of destitution."

Many of us probably find the idea of a vow of poverty to be rather strange.  Not only because it involves something as archaic sounding as a "vow," but because it willing embraces and celebrates poverty, which is so contrary to our American way of life.

Indeed, one might say that as Americans we have gone to the opposite extreme, and have made a "vow to be wealthy."

...We vow to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps.
...We vow to dream big.
...We vow to climb the corporate ladder.
...We vow to buy the latest and greatest stuff.
...We vow to work hard, but play harder.
...We vow to give our kids the things we never had.
...We vow to live the American dream.

As Christians, we don't need to take vows of poverty and live a monastic lifestyle.  It's even questionable if such a thing is Biblical.  But in not taking a vow of poverty, we need to fight against taking a silent vow, whereby we mentally assent to a vow to be wealthy.  Such, whether we want to admit it or not, is what most of us have embraced.

Let's break that vow today.

Instead of being a people who vow to be wealthy, we need to be a people who "vow" to work hard, make the most of what we have and the opportunities before us, to live simply and modestly, and to generously share with those who are in need.  Such is something all Christians are called to do.  It is not simply the calling of monks, nuns, and priests.  It is the calling of all the saints.


  1. Man, Americanism in religion is fucking stupid. Protestantism is the Wal Mart of religion.