Mammon: Confessions

Mammon Blog

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with Jesus sometimes. I mean, mate, Jesus, did you really mean what you said? Like when you said to the Rich Young Ruler that he had to sell all he had and give it to the poor, or that for the rich to enter the Kingdom, it would take a miracle to overcome the impossible? Did you mean it that when Zacchaeus decided to give back to everyone he’d stolen from more than what he owed them, that salvation had come to his house? Did you mean what you said when you declared we should seek first your Kingdom and not worry about what we will eat or drink or wear? Did you mean what you said when you explained what we don’t do for the least we have not done to you?

Sometimes I just want to say “Don’t you know, money makes the world go round? And it sounds to me like you’re kind of not that stoked on your followers keeping lots of it.”

And then there are passages like Luke 6:17-26.

These are known as the blessings and woes. Being part of the Gospel of Jesus, they are “Good News for the poor”, as Jesus said his good news would be (Luke 4:18-19). But…as a relatively well off, white male, in the western nation of New Zealand, these blessings and woes are not quite good news if my goal is to remain a relatively wealthy, white male, in New Zealand. They are hard to stomach.
“Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God,” Jesus says (v20). “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort,” (v24).

News reports over the past year have shed fresh light on poverty in New Zealand. 140,000 people are homeless in our nation. That includes people sleeping on the street, to people with no fixed abode, to families sleeping in cars in our parks.

It’s becoming more and more common knowledge that living an average NZ lifestyle make us rich on a global scale.

So here I am.

Sitting with my Bible.


I believe that Jesus meant what he said. But that leaves me in an awkward position. Because I am rich. For me to understand the gravity of the change that Jesus wants to work in me to transform me out the empire of this world into a citizen in the Kingdom of God, that will require a miracle. Because I have “already received my comfort.”

I am thankful that what for me is impossible is entirely possible for God. But I can’t ignore the fact that to be born again into the “life that truly is life” – eternal life in the Kingdom of God – is a slow and grueling process of becoming that will literally be a fight for me because of the position that I hold (1 Timothy 6). Don’t get me wrong, I know I have been born again into new life and I am a new creation, but as a new creation it will take a lifetime to unlearn the patterns of this world and grow as a disciple of a homeless rabbi king on a journey downward, while proclaiming the Good News that the Kingdom of God belongs for the poor.

We cannot serve both God and Mammon. They are entirely different gods. But I have loved money for so long now, and been a servant of mammon for so long, that it will have to take a miracle of ongoing grace and generosity from the Spirit of God to transform me into someone who truly catches a hold of the vision of Jesus. There will be enough for everyone, but it will require that people such as me learn to give everything up, redistribute, and become rich in good deeds.

Money is not the enemy, I’m learning. But it needs to be re imagined and re-thought by the people of God’s Kingdom. It is not ours for ourselves, and accumulating it is no longer our goal. Generosity, simplicity, contentment, satisfaction, joy, liberation, freedom, these are some of the things towards which Christ leads us, and in the process, money and the love of it can be left behind for what truly matters: love, relationship, full bellies, warm bodies, and eternal life in the Kingdom of God – may it come on earth as in heaven.

And may I – may we – continue to learn to resist the empire of mammon, on the road that leads to life.

I don’t know about you. But as young adult, I’m learning to handle money in a way I never have had to before. I am earning more now than I ever have. And I will probably be able to say the same in 10 years’ time too. So it is ripe time for me, for us, to understand what God calls us to in Jesus as stewards of wealth. If you have similar questions, or you struggle like me. If you are a young adult learning what it is to follow Jesus to freedom. If you are a young adult in the upside-down Kingdom, or are beginning to explore what that might mean, feel free to join my friends and me on the 28th of February at the Humble villager at 7PM and we can continue the conversation then. Kia kaha.
J H update

Jeremy Harris is the Young Adult’s Facilitator of the Diocese of Auckland. He also works part time as Youth and Young Adults Pastor at Northwest Anglican. He is a recovering sinner captivated by the God who came to earth in Jesus. He is married to Katie and together they have a succulent that recently died.


The Lillies and the Sparrows

Lillies and Sparros Media

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew chapter 6 verse 27
Yesterday I asked a group of young adults that I meet with weekly a question:
What are some of the most common fears people have about the future?

Their responses:
1. Being judged by others
2. Jobs
3. Failure
4. Finances
5. Rejection
6. Being alone

Sometimes I wonder how many hours of my own life have been spent worrying about these things; about whether or not I’m good enough, whether I’m meeting some insurmountable standard that I’m not even sure who set.

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed dreaming, or hoping, or creating, because it seems like there’s no room. “I have more important things to worry about now.”

I think I’ve forgotten how to feel.
My mind can’t remember how to wander, it couldn’t get lost if it tried.
I used to wonder about whether we could really shame the wise with the wisdom of foolish love, I used to wonder what it would look like if we all took down our walls and looked eye to eye at the human standing in front of us and saw only that, a human, a brother. I used to indulge in these outlandish fantasies, even if momentarily.

And now I’m wondering how I can fit all these tasks in, how I can produce more, how I can impress you, how I can prove that I’m a success, and you,
you took my pen from my hand and said stop dreaming girl. Join the line, fit the mould, work harder, straighten up, straighten out every single crease and bump until your flat and lifeless and no longer a threat to our culture of productivity,

I used to dream.

A wise man spoke some harsh truth to me the other night.
He told me, breathe.
You’re so frantic, so stuck in this cycle of systematic production, so anxious about doing everything right that you’re doing nothing well. Not because it isn’t good enough. But because you’re not in it. You feel nothing for it. You are not changed by it. You are surrounded by life but you’ve become so bound by the factory formula that compels you to do more, produce more, have more…
that you have nothing. And you’re moving faster than ever. But you are empty.

He said, you are flying past the life you’ve been dreaming of.
In pursuit of the next best thing because you’re afraid that what you’ve got and who you are is not good enough.

Pause. Listen.. Feel. Taste. See. Be. Pause. Breathe.

By all means pursue your dreams but remember to check that they are actually yours. By all means compete. By all means be driven. But too much competition and drive will keep you reaching forever and stop you from being thankful for what is in your hands.



And he was right.

I came into this world with nothing and I will leave it with nothing.
In a world of 7 billion people there is an incredibly minute chance that I will be remembered. That is quite a freeing thought. Not that my life is worthless, but that it’s worthless wasting it worrying.

Because if you do remember me, God forbid it be for the fact that I was too busy to care. To worried about my to do list that I never enjoyed doing.

If you do remember me for anything, I hope it is for loving, deeply. For noticing the outsider and creating space for her. For sitting with you in your hurt. For filling rooms with joy. . I hope you remember my laugh. My eyes that took the time to really see you. For being fearless in challenging the things in life that keep us captive and isolated.

Not for being too afraid to try.

About the Author:

Katie is a social work student at Massey University and part time youth pastor at North West Anglican. Katie is originally from the UK, giving our GC team the ‘cool accent’ factor. Katie loves food, people and fitness, and is always off on a hike or run somewhere exciting. She speaks at and MC’s our cafe events, and writes for the blog.

Prayer Tools and Guides


Where to from here? That’s what many of us might be thinking after our event last week on Common Prayer. So we at the Grace Collective thought it would be helpful to share some tools with you to begin with as you delve deeper into different ways of enriching your prayer life. It’s by no means comprehensive. In fact it’s rather a small list. But our prayer is that it would be the beginning of a journey for you into different ways of praying alone or together which will enliven and strengthen your relationship with God. We hope you find them helpful. Continue reading


prayerOne small thing,

At the same time,

Every day,

With gratitude in your hearts.

A dear friend of mine once shared with me this mantra. A friend who carries with her sixty years of discovering what it means to engage with a God who cares deeply for his people. She often spoke to me about the franticness of life and how the “glorification of busy” robs us of the deep fulfilment God longs to soak us in. For her, praying is constant, simple, and sincere. But I think she’d say it’s much more about listening, than telling God what she wants. This friend lives in a closeness to Jesus that is infectious. Not that she is never worried, or tired, or annoyed, but that she somehow walks through these human experiences evidently close to God. It intrigued me. So I asked her once, What’s the trick? How do you spend time with God? I kind of expected her to give some vague answer which was really just a question back at me, in that mysterious way that intriguing people like to answer curious questions. But this time she didn’t. Continue reading

The Sex Talk

Picture it with me for a moment.

A Youth summer camp at an awesome space, with incredible speakers, too much sun, Hillsong worship (pre-oceans but post the brass band stage). There was a buzz about the camp when Saturday morning approached.
We were having a conversation at 9am that day about sex and relationships. Starting together, but splitting into guys and girls. The classic set up. You probably know the drill. Continue reading

FOMO: Confessions of a people pleaser


Photo: Isobell Tregoweth

These are my reflections since our last Grace Collective Event: FOMO. The fear of missing out is something which plagues our generation. We over commit in capacity and under commit in quality, or we do nothing because we cannot decide what to do! At our event we had three guest speakers who challenged us on how this attitude aligns (or doesn’t) with the kind of life that Jesus calls us to. I personally was inspired by the stories from those who have given up pursuing multiple dreams and chosen to commit to something through all kinds of seasons, who don’t just duck out when things get tough or boring. This is so counter-cultural in our society! So counter-cultural to my life so far! So here is my rant: Continue reading

Community of Trinity

This guest blog is by The Rev’d Brenda Rockell, who is currently based at St Luke’s in Mt Albert. Before that, she was the pastor of Cityside Baptist Church. She is one of the leaders of a new Anglican Diocesan initiative for young adults, called the Community of Trinity, that will begin its life in November this year.


I was converted and baptised into the Christian faith as a teenager, but it wasn’t until I was nearly 20 years old that I had any idea of the monastic tradition within the faith. I was aware of the stereotypes – old men in habits, chanting, and praying the day away – and I assumed, if I thought about it at all, that the monastic way was an escape from the demands of ‘real life.’ Continue reading