May 2, 2007

trading good news for the good life

Brooke and I recently watched both Blood Diamond and The Constant Gardener-both movies we had not yet seen. It has left some horrible images on our minds. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not taking film for fact. But having befriended local African refugees, taking classes with African immigrants and visiting God's Golden Acre I have heard stories first hand enough times to know that movies such as these are telling a story close enough to reality.

Some thoughts as I lay here sleepless:

I hope that these films and others such as Hotel Rwanda are more than entertainment. I'm not sure I understand how it could be absorbed simply as that but as I've overheard people discuss these films I realize how inoculated we are to these things. "How sad... Did you feed the cat?"

I hope that people can begin to see how global concerns such as poverty, disease, violence and hunger are all connected. I hope we can begin to see how connected these things are not only to each other somewhere on a far away continent but also to us, as Western consumers. I don't think most of us realize how our consumptive habits are connected to the destructive realities formed for others. But it is true and my hope is that films such as these can begin to expose how complicit we all are with these forces.

I hope that for those that begin to get a glimpse of this terrible reality also realize that the kingdom is connected in much the same way. As Derrick Jensen says, "We need it all." Everything counts. Every step we take towards sustainable (aka "eternal") practices, every time we stand up against injustice, every time we welcome the stranger... it matters. For so many, it seems so daunting but every little thing matters. We need only to find that one thing we can do. We don't need to be heroes. Just people of the Way.

Here in the States it seems we are bitterly enslaved to Consumerism. So much has it blinded us that we don't even see the effect of our own bondage on others... we've replaced the good news with the good life. It's one of the prophetic things Church of the Savior in DC has done in recent years by facing this head on (Gordon Cosby refers to it as 'cultural addiction'-read his handbook, Becoming the Authentic Church). From C of S's site, Inward/Outward Rick Kidd says this:

Few of us in the radical Christian movement would deny that we live in an economic system that is rooted in consumerism and unjust distribution of resources. We might also agree that this economy results in desperation and death for many. What we may not agree on is that our own participation in this economy amounts to an addiction.

For those of us who suffer from the devastation of alcohol and drug addiction or compulsive sex and gambling behavior to compare our economic behavior to these other life damaging circumstances may seem insulting. Many of us, however, who have suffered from and live with these addictive diseases, believe that our involvement in the economy of the dominant culture is no less damaging to our lives and those of our neighbors. It's not about comparing one addiction to another; it's about acknowledging any behavior over which we are powerless and which creates destruction in our individual lives and communities.


Also, go read this article, Breaking the Consumer Habit. Might be helpful.

Now I must turn in for the night.

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sushil yadav said...
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