This resurrection will likely be painful

By Bre Woligroski. This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 25, Spring 2012, The utopia issue.

Those of us wannabe revolutionaries who have been working, praying and calling out for significant social change have found some tangible positive signs lately.

Our world is shifting. Some sort of change is in the air and it makes my heart leap and stirs my soul.

Stories of resistance play on every newsfeed; on a global scale, symptoms of the collapse and the collective rejection of capitalism are becoming evident. Between the Arab Spring, the struggling economies of the U.S., Greece and Italy and the growing commitment to the Occupy movement, something is moving and changing. A new way of relating to each other is on the proverbial horizon.

But what is it we are changing to? Will we simply exchange one flawed system for another?

It feels ironic, laughable, backwards, that my current mental picture of utopia resembles a pre-industrial state without the comforts of the internet, indoor plumbing or telecommunications. I close my eyes and envision agrarian-based communities with no monarchist or colonial hierarchies or philosophies. Instead I see . . . people. People growing food together, getting together for some kick-ass barn raisings, sharing resources without thoughts of hoarding or exploitation. Communities of spirits so connected to the moon and the earth that they don’t need clocks or calendars. Communities of people who work together and who deeply realize their interconnectedness to each other and to the earth.

Am I romanticizing? Naturally.

I want to dip out of this global economy madness and scale things down, to escape the torturous mental traps of commercials and mega-malls. I want to know my neighbours better and more tangibly connect with them outside of shared sidewalks and for-profit sporting events. I want to eat local vegetables and understand intimately how the changes in seasons affect my body, my moods, my diet. I want to stop looking at this computer screen and talk to somebody, face-to-face, and get my hands dirty in some pesticide-free Manitoba clay.

Basically I want to be a radical Christian farmer anarchist, but I lack the tools for three of these four identities.

I have a deep yearning for this future because I see every day how our globalized system of greed and exploitation is killing our collective soul. Something is amiss when Adam Smith’s invisible hand is considered our society’s moral compass. Wealth is not an ethical concept or way of being; neither is ignorance or subservience. This is an old biblical story with new players – markets, greed and profits are our generation’s golden cows, and if there is a hell it is right here and right now, being played out on earth, with our blessing.

We need redemption. When our government and citizens endorse a 1900-mile pipeline carrying oil across our land, and silence people who oppose it, when that oil goes to fuel jets that are indiscriminately killing people in wars around the world and out of sight, we need redemption. Exploitation and suffering are all around us and I profit from it with my retirement investments and my hydro-run home.

I worry because I am privileged and I have a lot to lose in the coming revolution. What about my savings, investments, house, car? What will happen to my loved ones?

My utopia will not come without pain. Resurrection requires death, and once death has taken its toll we can rise again, with new learnings and old memories and a commitment to keep things small and local, to know our food intimately, to know our neighbours again and work collectively to heal our land and spirits.

My utopia comes at a price. And I want badly enough to be willing to pay it.

Bre Woligroski stares at carrots in her bachelor apartment in Wolseley, Winnipeg.

3 thoughts on “This resurrection will likely be painful

  1. The day is coming for a remnant of revolutionaries among the Christians will be humbled enough to see Maoism as the path forward.

    Blessings.

  2. Dear Sister Melanie,

    Three things I wish to share with respect to your resurrection hopes stated so profoundly above:

    1. Yes, indeed, a resurrection life has its “stigmata”, just as Christ Resurrected still bears the martyr’s scars on his body. Your fine piece challenges me most profoundly in the very areas you cite (CREATURE COMFORTS). In my case two things that I cling to VORACIOUSLY– 1) daily coffee at a local cafe; & 2) my books & the ability to buy more. Also I suspect that there are many others which community living would help me face.

    2. Although you describe a resurrected life that you and others (i.e. “Geez”, etc.) now live and seek to deepen, I find an underlying “anti-urban flight-from-the-city” model too restrictive. Certainly Scripture has such a vision, but also one can find urban models as well (i.e., Paul’s house communities, the heavenly city of the Book of Revelation). The French “worker-priests” were an urban model, & to this day we find small Resurrection communities within the urban milieu. Think Dorothy Day, who sought & built resurrection cities in both urban & rural milieus.

    3. Although I can and do find excellent and valuable thoughts and practices in Karl Marx many of his followers, Mao included, I am exceedingly nervous around any brand of FUNDAMENTALISM, which I have found all too often among Marxist allies. This last point I address to the immediately previous reply to your fine work.

    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your thoughtful & heart-lived piece,
    Your struggling bro,
    Oz

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