Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

19 September 2005
  Condé Nast: Remembering a "Secular Saint"

Condé Montrose Nast died on this day in 1942. He established a chain of magazines that defied prevailing publishing wisdom. Rather than emphasizing ever-increasing circulation numbers, Nast specialized, targeting selected income levels and areas of interest. In some ways, we might reflect that his strategy and its results anticipated the breakdown of "Big Three" television with the niche marketing of cable and satellite programming. Nast made a huge fortune, lost much of it during the Great Depression, and was in the process of trying to gain back his wealth when his life ended.

Certainly, much of the philosophy espoused by some of his publications, including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and, of course, Condé Nast Traveler, is contrary to the Christian faith and certainly can encourage covetousness. However, his business approach itself is quite congruent with Jesus' Parable of the Dishonest Manager (Luke 16:1-9). After telling the story, the Lord noted that "the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. (v. 8)" Certainly, Nast figured out how to deal shrewdly with his "own generation."

For the Christian, however, the correct use of wealth and possessions is more important than their accumulation. Rather than grasping and hoarding, we "spend down" earthly treasures among those around us. Jesus concluded the parable by saying, "Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. (v. 9)" We neither buy our own way into heaven nor bribe others to forsake this earth and follow Christ. However, we do have ample opportunity to share the blessings we receive, thus bridging gaps between ourselves and others and having freer course in speaking and living the Gospel as we live our earthly lives.
 
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