Lent’s Reminder That We’re All Wolves of Wall Street

John Van Sloten

John Van Sloten
April 15, 2014

An interview with Jordan Belfort - the real-life Wolf of Wall Street - is a Lenten reminder about the insidiousness of sin.

Aron Reppmann
April 16, 2014

John, thanks for this thoughtful piece. I'm glad for the increased attention these days in theology, faith development, ethics, professional development, and other areas to _processes of formation_ (personal and communal). It's helpful to be reminded that deformation, too, is a process.

John Van Sloten
April 16, 2014

Thanks for the comment Aron. Your words make me wonder if, perhaps, all of revelation is also a process. The Holy Spirit's (perhaps anonymous) work in inspiring Jordan Belfort's words, a prevenient part of God's overall process of renewing all things.

Nick Akey
April 16, 2014

This reminds me of a scientifically backed up concept I read about a while ago, called "The Pyramid of Choice" The idea is that you basically start off at the top of a triangle. Down one side, is evil. Bad moral choices, cheating, lying, etc. And on the other side, is good moral choices. Courage, honesty, virtue. When you first are born, or go into a new situation or whatever, you are at the top. But the first important decision you make, will send you down one side. The first lie you tell, makes the next one so much easier, and the next one... and the next one.. and pretty soon (or not so soon) you're all the way down the pyramid. On the other hand, the first good choice you make, the first time you stand up for something, the easier it is next time... and next time... and next time. I really enjoyed this article!

(P.S. Here's the link to the pyramid of choice thing I was talking about if you're interested)

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
April 16, 2014

Hi Nick - Josh, TC editor here. Sorry that link didn't come through. Feel free to post it again. Thanks

Jonathan Downie
April 18, 2014

This is a great and very humbling piece. I do have an issue with insisting that Belfort will "always be a swindler in his heart". Surely, if Easter teaches us anything, it is that real, deep change is possible because of and through Christ.

It is very true, however, that the small decisions are much more important than we usually think.

John Van Sloten
April 19, 2014

Yeah, I hear you Jonathan. I felt the tension as I wrote those words, because I really do know what it's like to be made new through Christ. And I am new... and yet I am still a bit of a scoundrel. In my experience holding onto both of these truths at the same time is what makes my faith in Christ so relevant and alive... He's saved me once, and then again and again and again. Justification, sanctification... sometimes I have trouble clearly seeing the line between the two. Thanks for the insight.

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