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.