Sunday, July 26, 2015

Book Review of "Two Masters: God or money"

TITLE: Two Masters: God or money (nonfiction)
AUTHOR: Pastor Edmund Danilo Auguis
PUBLISHER: Authorhouse
187 pages

In the Book of Matthew in the New Testament, it says that “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one, and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon [money].” Filipino Pastor Edmund Danilo Auguis of the God Most High Christian Ministry in Great Britain sees the God/Money divide in the same way, which is to say that he is given to prioritizing God over Money despite the vicissitudes of contemporary life that are permeated by the latter.

For a devout Christian this is all fine, but the frequent stresses and immoderate palpitations that can characterize the reality of everyday living might cause even the faith of the most devout to come under greater assault by the requisites of a modern capitalist society. So should we have God stand aside in the name of material necessity (and/or desire) or should He be evoked above everything else?

Pastor Auguis, in what is really a 187-page sermon, sorts this question out. In “Two Masters: God or money,” which Auguis presents as a work of admonitory, immutable prose, states that “To trust or worship other gods like mammon [money] is a direct insult and blasphemy to Him because He is the God of everything.” Spoken like a true Christian clergyman.

The reader of Auguis’s book will soon learn after beginning it that the good pastor doesn’t pull his punches in getting to his point of undying lamentation: that our lives are turning more and more on the acquisition and possession of money. As a result, the moral and spiritual sides of those lives are being left hung out to dry. Supporting Auguis’s thesis is the profoundly written biblical quote in the Book of Mark, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”

“Two Masters” is an attempt to convey the foundations of Christian opprobrium for the excesses of capitalism and the covetous attitudes and mindsets it spawns. Auguis employs the Bible and his religious background to thrust forward what he thinks is worth knowing about understanding how to redress what he sees as the imbalance today in the relationship between God and money: “we serve money rather than God.”

Auguis does acknowledge the utility and relevance of money. With constant shift of emphases from that concession though, he, with the presence and power of his Christian faith behind him, expands on the theme that the spiritual realm must always take precedence over the realm of money. For Auguis, it is essential that we “not care how much profit we lose as long as we are after the righteousness of God.”

Auguis may as well have written in bold letters, “Read the Bible here” in his book since he gives advice about God and Money predominantly from selected biblical quotations and teachings while rarely considering any profane sources. “Two Masters,” while very much a worthwhile contribution to the debate at hand, puts the Christian word first before any other thereby rigidly expelling to the sidelines valid non-Christian arguments however comparable.

It goes without saying that Auguis is a Christian pastor so his narrow focus on the Scriptures as the last word on the intemperance of a life centered on money is hardly surprising. But he overestimates the inspirational facility of his faith to seamlessly make the multitudes who are joined at the hip of a modern consumerist society and culture to see the light as he sees it himself when it comes to God and Money. Auguis ends up writing in denial for the ethos of monetary wealth and conspicuous consumerism is written in stone in such a society and culture, so much so that people flout what God or his acolytes have to say in pious disquisition.

Pastor Auguis shows that he is a passionate advocate of a more spiritually enriched and less acquisitive world. But there are far more reasoned narratives to be found in secular humanist circles for what Auguis is depending so much on the Bible to tell us. In short, there are more commonsensically edifying works to turn to in order to understand the God/Money relationship than Pastor Auguis’s sanctimonious and naive treatment of it in “Two Masters.”


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