100. What is collateral security and how does it influence a society?

The passage in question 99 from Acts 2 verses 42-47 is indicative of collateral security and how it functions in a group-oriented culture. Just as a father lovingly and unconditionally provides for his family, so the Church is seen and functions as the family of God and its needs are met by the sharing of wealth and resources. ‘They sold their possessions and shared the money with those in need.’ (Acts 2: 45). The community of God became the safety net for those who fell into need. Collateral security is the description of this set of values in operation in a group-oriented community. There is no need for government sponsored or funded social aid when the community you belong to collectively looks after its own who are in need. This could be described as the ‘Church of the open wallet.’ It is a holistic approach to the family of God. Such a society is a caring and deeply relational society where anyone’s burden is everyone’s concern. James taught that ‘faith without works’ is dead. Many churches are dead and dying because they have ignored the collectivist and collateral security values of the early church. The Church is the living Body of Christ on earth. Meditate on how Jesus responded to need when He saw it. He fed the crowds many times. He healed the sick, the blind, the lepers, the demon possessed – all people who were economically disenfranchised in the society of His day. In Isaiah 61 the Prophet prophesied that the Messiah would do all these miracles and it would result in economic uplift for the poor. Jesus, by His actions released those excluded from the collectivist society of His day, whose identity had been destroyed as a result of their condition, liberated them to be members of the family of God, a collectivist community practising collateral security values.

The ‘Ummah’ of Islâm practices these group-oriented, collectivist values and encourages ‘collateral security’ through a high priority on teaching its community to practice ‘charitable giving.’ A Muslim’s identity is securely developed in the community of the Mosque he/she attends. Caring for one another is a high priority. Not to care is shameful for the whole community; to care is to bring honour to the community and be proud of how it relates. The Qur’an encourages this community care by treating that all charity done in the name of Allâh is like a loan to Allâh that He will one day reward, if not in this life then in the next. Allâh always honours his loans. Allâh is the great example of one who practices the culture of honour and shame. Honour comes to those who submit to Him and shame to those who are disobedient. The disobedient are to be excluded from the ‘ummah’ because they have lost their group identity through their disobedience.