Reading Polanyi, The Great Transformation I was instantly taken back to political science in community college. I felt a passion start to rise up in where I wanted to dive deeper into Polanyi. In my time in Community College, I became passionate with Karl Marx The Communist Manifesto. John Stuart Mill on Liberty. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The two discoveries & The Social Contract. As these three writers helped form the foundation of the country of the United States, they challenged me greatly as Polanyi. There is a part of me that desires to go away to a cabin on a lake and take a deeper look in these books, especially Polanyi.
Initial Response to Polanyi
I believe Polanyi to be very intelligent and took great care and detail in his writings. Polanyi helped me understand some of the current situations I have faced in ministry, planting a church, and with our food ministry feeding the poor. I would list Polanyi’s work with the greats. If I was not a pastor, I might regard Polanyi’s book as truth. The answer that we need to follow.
As a pastor, a man of God, I have to stand with the word of God. The Spirit of Truth. However not everyone is filled with the Holy Spirit, grounded in the Word of God, therefore I believe Polanyi’s book, The Great Transformation is a great help, but because of the New Testament and Jesus coming in the flesh (deity), the natural and supernatural came together in John 2 with the wedding at Cana.
Most see the Wedding at Cana as the first miracle Jesus performed. But when we take a deeper look, we see that the natural and supernatural are coming together as a new wine. Jesus has taken the natural and combined with the supernatural and there is no longer separation as it is all mixed together. We can no longer separate church from state, because it is all one.
Transitioning to Dr. Clark
Dr. Clark in Evangelicalism and Capitalism takes the work of Polanyi and builds an incredible platform and brings to light some of the evils or unbiblical practices we have adopted in the church today. As the need for more seems to be driving the church today, are we really following the biblical model of discipleship Jesus exampled in the Gospels? As we have seen with many forms of the government or markets, they are incredible ideologies that could work if it was not for one main problem, the spiritual downfall of mankind with sin. Often greed and covetousness takes root and becomes the downfall of many systems, countries, and war. From James 4:1-3.
I wonder if Polanyi’s book would be different if he experienced Christ at an early age and was filled with the Spirit of God. Would he not try and separate the water and wine at the Wedding of Cana? Would he be like most christians and see this as the first miracle that Jesus performs in the Gospel of John. Or would he see that Jesus took the natural and combined it with the Supernatural. From this miracle, there is no more separation from the natural or supernatural. There is no longer a separation of church and state, it is mixed together and the master of the feast said “you have kept the good wine until now.”
Fellow Pastors Perspective
Becca Hald has an excellent post How Big Is Your Slice of the Pie? Pastor Becca brings up some excellent points in a simple way. That in a free market economy that pie can keep growing and growing. While many State and County agencies have enforced a regulated market food distribution where everyone has a piece of the pie. Not everyone stewards that piece of the pie the same.
In conclusion, Polanyi’s book is brilliant. I also wonder how much blowback Dr. Clark got for his book on Evangelicalism and Capitalism? I wonder with some of these greats in their time, were they like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire when after trying to bring reform to the relationship between pro athletes and agents. As it was for Jerry Maguire, did these reformers suffer greatly, then later in time be acknowledged and honored.
As Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Let us not put down our cross, but let us carry on with all diligence no matter what the cost. As Karl Marx finished his Manifesto with “let all working men unite.” True unity comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
 Marx, Karl, 1818-1883. The Communist Manifesto. London ; Chicago, Ill. :Pluto Press, 1996.
 Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. London: Longman, Roberts & Green, 1869; Bartleby.com, 1999.
 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 2004. The Social Contract. Penguin Great Ideas. Harlow, England: Penguin Books.
 Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 2nd Beacon Paperback ed (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001).
 Verney, Stephen, Water into Wine An INtroduction John’s Gospel. Fount Paperbacks London, England:1985
 Jason Clark, “Evangelicalism and Capitalism: A Reparative Account and Diagnosis of Pathogeneses in the Relationship” (2018). Faculty Publications-Portland Seminary.
 Hald, Becca How Big Is Your Slice of the Pie? March 1, 2023 Portland Seminary