MATTHEW: Doing God’s work at my day job.
BRANDI: Your day job is religious?
GUINNESS: Your day job is Goldman Sachs?
MATTHEW: Not Goldman, the other one.
GUINNESS: Jesus, honey, don’t you know anything about the real world?
MATTHEW: The financial industry is the real world?
GUINNESS: Good point.
BRANDI: I despise the financial industry. It’s all about money.
GUINNESS: Well yeah, isn’t that the definition of a financial industry?
BRANDI: And it promotes inequality.
GUINNESS: The real world doesn’t promote inequality?
MATTHEW: “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”
BRANDI: Who said that?
MATTHEW: Some old rich British git who says that Jesus Christ was a capitalist.
BRANDI: Does he work for Goldman Sachs?
GUINNESS: Rhetorical question alert.
BRANDI: You have to tolerate inequality? Jesus would spit on him.
GUINNESS: Jesus would vomit on him.
MATTHEW: Sadly? No. Jesus would forgive him.
BRANDI: Not the Christ who comes with a sword.
GUINNESS: How about the Christ who comes with a stock market quote?
MATTHEW: The Goldman Sachs Christ: “Suffer, ye little children.”
GUINNESS: The Bank of America Christ: “If God didn’t want you to have a credit card, he’d have given you a higher-paying job.”
BRANDI: The Citicorp Christ: “I’m sorry, I’ve run out of money; can I have another 50 billion? I’m too divine to fail.”
GUINNESS: I think it’s immoral to make a profit when there are starving people in the world.
BRANDI: How is it immoral to make a profit?
GUINNESS: How is it moral to ignore suffering and poverty?
BRANDI: And there are always starving people in the world. The poor are always with us. Jesus said that.
GUINNESS: And it was an observation, not an edict.
BRANDI: I just can’t see Jesus in a three-piece suit working the phone to get investors to buy into the latest Vatican Industries IPO.
GUINNESS: Oh I can. He’d have to shave the beard, though.
BRANDI: But it’s against everything Jesus stands for!
GUINNESS: Not the way the financial Christians think.
MATTHEW: I’m reminded of a poem.
BRANDI: Is it an obscure poem?
GUINNESS: Rhetorical question alert.
MATTHEW: It’s by Ambrose Bierce; it's called Arma Virumque.
BRANDI: Arma what now?
MATTHEW: Arma Virumque. The first two words of the Aeneid. It means “arms and the man.”
BRANDI: Oh! The Shaw play!
MATTHEW: Yuh. The Shaw play. The poem goes like this:
"Ours is a Christian army;” so he said
A regiment of bangomen who led.
"And ours a Christian navy," added he
Who sailed a thunder-junk upon the sea.
Better they know than men unwarlike do
What is an army, and a navy too.
Pray God there may be sent them by-and-by
The knowledge what a Christian is, and why.
For somewhat lamely the conception runs
Of a brass-buttoned Jesus firing guns.
MATTHEW: And even more lamely runs the conception of Jesus Christ, Head of Global Equity.
GUINNESS: Actually he’d probably be in Compliance.
BRANDI: So what did this old rich British git say exactly?
MATTHEW: You mean besides the inequality quote? “The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest.”
BRANDI: That’s not technically saying Jesus was a capitalist.
MATTHEW: No, it’s technically saying that Jesus was out for himself.
BRANDI: I’d say that’s true of some of his current earthly representatives, but not the man himself.
GUINNESS: Organized religion. It’s the worst thing that ever happened to faith.
BRANDI: So in other words, what the British git was saying is, God favors those who love themselves before others.
GUINNESS: The real golden rule.
BRANDI: I thought the real golden rule was, “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.”
MATTHEW: That’s the old version. The new one saysm “Whoever has a connection to Goldman Sachs makes the rules.”
BRANDI: So how does this guy explain Jesus throwing the money-lenders out of the Temple?
MATTHEW: It’s a perfect example of the robust nature of competitive advantage.
GUINNESS: Buzz word alert.
MATTHEW: He was exemplifying the virtues of market capitalism.
GUINNESS: Jesus, it’s like a Monty Python skit.
BRANDI: It is, isn’t it?
THE MONTY PYTHON SKIT
INTERVIEWER: And now, Lord Specious Petty, who says that Jesus was a capitalist.
LORD PETTY: Jesus was the quintessential capitalist.
INTERVIEWER: So what about the moneylenders?
LORD PETTY: People say, what about the moneylenders? If he was such a capitalist, why did he throw the moneylenders out of the Temple? As if it’s a crime to lend money at exorbitant rates of interest. At no point in the Bible does Jesus say that it’s a crime to lend money at exorbitant rates of interest.
INTERVIEWER: But he still threw the moneylenders out.
LORD PETTY: Well of course. But he didn’t say, “All right, you lot. Don’t lend money at exorbitant rates of interest.” He just said, “Don’t do it here.”
INTERVIEWER: Is that actually in the Bible?
LORD PETTY: It’s a valid interpretation of the received text.
INTERVIEWER: But is it in the actual Bible.
LORD PETTY: [Brief pause; a deliberate lie:] Yes.
LORD PETTY: [An even bigger lie:] It’s in the Wall Street edition.
INTERVIEWER: The Wall Street edition.
LORD PETTY: Yes.
INTERVIEWER: Is that the one where Jesus blasts the fig tree because it doesn’t give good shareholder value?
LORD PETTY: And what’s wrong with shareholder value?
INTERVIEWER: The one that says, “Thou shalt not commit insider trading unless thou canst do it without getting caught?”
LORD PETTY: Perfectly sound advice from a compliance point of view.
INTERVIEWER: The one that says, “Thou shalt not have any investment banks before me?”
LORD PETTY: Brand loyalty. The heart of competition.
INTERVIEWER: How can you actually sit here and say that Jesus was spouting financial advice instead of delivering moral instruction by word and example?
LORD PETTY: Of course he was talking about money! Look at who his audience was! They were all Jews!
[INTERVIEWER SHOOTS LORD PETTY.]
[CUT TO A CONFESSIONAL.]
INTERVIEWER: Bless me father for I have sinned. I killed a man today.
PRIEST: [A paroxysm of outrage] The mortal sin of murder! The mark of Cain is on you! Your hands are steeped in blood and gore for killing a fellow human being! Your soul is doomed to persition's flames for taking God's gift of life and stamping on it with your filthy workboots! Homicide is unforgivable! Unforgivable, I say!
INTERVIEWER: He was a heathen.
PRIEST: [Mildly:] Two Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.
MATTHEW: Ah, Money Python. I miss Monty Python.
BRANDI: You really are more a mimic than a maker, aren’t you.
MATTHEW: Are you saying I don’t have a voice of my own?
BRANDI: Have any two of your plays been written in the same voice?
GUINNESS: Rhetorical question alert.
MATTHEW: Just because I echo, that doesn’t mean I don’t have something new to say. Look at Jesus.
GUINNESS: Oh great –- another writer with a Christ complex.
MATTHEW: Jesus echoed the Old Testament. All the time. But with a spin that was all his own.
BRANDI: Jesus spun the Old Testament?
MATTHEW: Sure. He said it was about love when it was really all about revenge.
BRANDI: Is that your definition of Christianity? Love?
MATTHEW: My definition of Christianity is the same as Christ’s.
GUINNESS: Yeah; right.
BRANDI: And who doesn’t say that, huh?
GUINNESS: Everybody has a direct pipeline to God.
BRANDI: Jesus talks to them personally.
GUINNESS: “This is what Jesus meant.”
BRANDI: “This is what Jesus wants.”
GUINNESS: Cripes, I don’t even have family members who talk to me personally.
BRANDI: So what do you think Jesus’ definition of Christianity is?
MATTHEW: All are welcome at the same table. The poor, the pure, the rich, the corrupt, the believer, the non-believer. All are welcome. Because it’s all of us or none. That is the essence of Christianity. Inclusion and forgiveness.
GUINNESS: Which is not what a lot of Christians say.
MATTHEW: But it’s what Jesus said.
BRANDI: Really? Where?
MATTHEW: [Rhetorical question alert:] In the Book of Matthew.
It's His cross to bear.