Jenson's Theological Autobiography to Date
ten ways to read scripture

ten ways to resist empire

Tomorrow I'm preaching on Revelation 17-19. My main theme is unveiling and resisting empire and so as a practical resource I thought I'd give the church some ideas of resisting empire.

1. join the campaign not to renew Trident - the replacement of Trident is the empire mentality that trusts in military strength to keep Britain safe and secure; nuclear weapons are anti-gospel, they go against Jesus command to love your enemies and the exhortation that blessed are the peacemakers

2. don't let your charity become commodified - more and more recently charity has been linked to entertainment and consumerism. 10p of this call goes to charity; buy this 'thing' and we'll give £1 to this charity. charity is about giving voluntary to those in need, it shouldn't be about us getting some in return. see kester's reflection here and here

3. reconsider where you buy and your food - what food can you grow in your garden? what food can you buy fairtrade? what food can you get locally? what would happen if as many people in the church as possible grew food and we shared it with each other? many global food and clothing companies are destroying the world's resources and enslaving the poor. find out where your food is made and by who. boycott the worst offenders.

4. become less addicted to our cars. Most of us are slaves to our cars - what have forms of transport can we use? what would happen if as many people in the church as possible shared lifts on sundays and in the week?

5. orientate our lives around being a community of God - around praying together, reading scripture together, visiting one another, being hospitable to one another, worshipping together, being truthful to one another listening to one another - what would happen if we made time to be together as a church family? how could we celebrate sabbath as a time of rest and worship?

6. become globally aware - too often we're ignorant of what is happening around the world and how our lives, our governments and multinational companies are affecting the lives of others around the world - what would happen if everyone in the church - young and old - chose a country to pray for and learn about? what would then happen if we made time to share stories from around the world to inform our intercessory prayer and our day to day choices?

7. reading scripture together - what would happen if we read Jesus' sermon on the mount so regularly it become written on our hearts and minds? we need to school and train ourselves in christian politics - that is a vision shaped by compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, love and peace

8. affirming self-image - one of the biggest lies a empire mentality tells us is that we are not beautiful, that we are not the right bodyshape, we don't have the right clothes - what would happen if we removed the magazine and tv adverts that lie to us from our lives? what would happen if we discovered ways to affirm and celebrate the way we look? what passages from scripture or  moments in our communal worship help affirm one another?

9. disconnect your television - how does the empire mentality sell us its myths? the answer is namely television. why don't you disconnect it every once a while? what would happen if we were more selective in what we watched (i.e. cut out the rubbish)? what would it mean to turn the TV while we eat? what would it mean to only have one TV?

10. become ethical bankers - how about switching accounts to more ethical bankers? how about checking where your money is being invested? if you have a credit card, switch it to a tearfund or christian aid one.

Comments

Zeth

Great post, this is how I am trying to be a Christian in the modern world. To these I would add:

11. Let ethics inform your choice of software.
I personally have found that Christian values are supported better within free/open source software.

12. Resist attempts to introduce markets/royalties within the act of worship itself, i.e. do not turn the Lord's temple into a den of robbers.

On Trident, I agree with you 100%. As I have argued here, William Wilberforce's belief in unilateral action applies to nuclear weapons also.

sushil_yadav

In response to your post about "ways to resist empire" I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of consumerism/ industrialization on our minds and environment. Please read.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.


A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.


Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

TheHolisticWheel

sushil_yadav

Andy

Good post. It's not just that our charity has been commodofied. We commodify people and we even commodify church and worship. So we shop around looking for what 'meets my needs' and if we don't like what we get we go somewhere else. And, of course, if we can't find what we want anywhere, we can always buy the 'best worship ever' on CD.

The comments to this entry are closed.