Category Archives: Ethics

The High Holy Days Approach

Last year around the same time that our annual consumer frenzy was reaching a fever pitch I was wrapping up a series inspired by fellow Truett grad, preacher extraordinaire and soon-to-be published author, Kyndall Rae Rothaus, about the nature of our purchases and how they function in the consumer religion (Holy Purchases). I’ve just gone back and re-read these posts and am again struck by how enmeshed we are (I am) in this religious-economic system.

consumerism_project_by_immense

I would love to say that because I have diagnosed these things to an extent, I am somehow immune or above, but that’s always the biggest lie. That is the danger of any purity code whether it’s Leviticus or Fair Trade. You believe somehow that you are able to live up to its perfection by following the letter of that law. Jesus clearly points out that the spirit of the law is more important than the literal interpretation and strict adherence when he repeatedly breaks the ritualistic practices of sabbath-keeping. Purity codes can twist us into valuing holiness for its own sake and devaluing life and creation. We keep ourselves apart and separate so we can believe that we are different.

Maybe this is why Paul writes in Phillipians 2:3 that we are to “regard others as better than yourselves.” It’s not about demeaning ourselves, but rather humbly exalting others and placing ourselves within the greater context of all creation. We are created and loved, but not as special and unique as we would like to think. We are no better or worse than others no matter what we buy or don’t buy. By all means live faithfully and follow your convictions, but don’t believe for a second that this gives you any special status with God or anyone else for that matter. It doesn’t and it shouldn’t.

Hope everyone has a happy and blessed holiday this week. Let’s remember our native brothers and sisters this week. They have given and continue to give gifts to us, if we are open to receive them. Sometimes it looks like repentance and confession, but those are also gifts to be thankful for. 

image via http://www.alexclermontwrites.com/2009/09/14/lifeinc/

Does the Church Need to Build Alternative Economies?

Excellent and challenging article that questions our assumptions about economics in the church while also offering some alternatives that we can begin to live out in our churches and communities. I’m proud to say that our community (though imperfectly) is already practicing these alternatives. I would add the sharing economy to the list of alternatives.

stewardship-1-225x300With the most recent down­turn in the US econ­omy, a veneer has been ripped away from the illu­sion that cap­i­tal­ism has a moral cen­ter. Ardent activists who had pre­vi­ously looked toward reform­ing capitalism’s abuses have awak­ened from a stu­por and are now peek­ing into the system’s unequal profit mech­a­nisms. It will take sig­nif­i­cant denial to con­tinue to affirm the moral­ity of our cur­rent system.

via Does the Church Need to Build Alternative Economies? | Unbound.

The Community of Goods

To me, it seems that as Christians, we have a responsibility to follow Christ’s example in our lives, and this includes economics. Christianity should not be associated with the seeking of profit and property, but with radical economic community and sharing. This was the economic vision of the earliest Christians, and it should also be for us today as society becomes more consumerist and the gap between rich and poor widens.

http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/2013/09/26/the-community-of-goods/

Three Things Activists in the Office Can Learn from the Street

My new book, Anarchists in the Boardroom, tells the stories of Argentine worker-run factories, Occupy encampments, and direct actions against tax-dodging corporations to highlight some of the emerging alternatives to our inherited systems of organizing. There is something deeply human about these non-hierarchical systems that seems to bring out the best in us. They allow us to find our own ways of supporting the causes we believe in, rather than slotting us into hierarchies and departments that prescribe how we are meant to do so. Below are a few key lessons that could help our organizations to embrace the humanity of the people that make them up:

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/yes/most-recent-articles/~3/0hUtkyTND8g/three-reasons-why-participatory-democracy-helps-build-a-stronger-workplace

Midway: A Message From the Gyre

On a remote island civilization is killing the inhabitants from thousands of miles away. Tragic video about the consequences of our actions and choices as a society and individually.

MIDWAY a Message from the Gyre : a short film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.