Disrupting a System of Wealth Extraction

exodusA report on Exodus Lending from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Exodus Lending, which launched two years ago from a Minneapolis Lutheran congregation as the first alternative to  payday loans, has made its 100th loan, including to 41 working-poor borrowers who were refinanced from the “payday loan debt trap” and repaid in full.

“We had no idea the program would grow this big and help so many people,” said Exodus co-founder Meghan  Olsen Biebighauser. Continue reading

#BUYNOTHINGXMAS

nobuyFrom Adbusters:

This year, why not take a path less traveled?

Opt-out of the consumer fest that the holidays have become, the weeks of overconsumption that leave you feeling empty. Quit performing out of habit.

Think back to your fondest memories, those moments of real joy.

What might the holidays be like if you refused to hit the mall … let your friends know that you’re not accepting gifts (and not giving any either) … give back to people in real need … and if you do have to give a gift go indie or go rogue … make it yourself … inject some life back into that sedated and automatic sense of time.  Continue reading

Healing as Liberation from Crippling Debt

DebtBy Ched Myers, on Luke 13:10-17, for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost

Note: This is part of a series of weekly comments on the Lukan gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary during year C, 2016.

This part of Luke’s gospel offers two symbolic stories about the healing of “political bodies” that signify pathology in the body politic: the “bent over” woman (13:10-17) and the “too big” man (14:1-6). Sadly, the second of these is (literally) skipped over by the lectionary. These intimately related healings bracket a series of Jesus’ sayings concerning the Kingdom as surprise and mystery (13:18-21), the “narrow Way” (13:22-30) and the cost of prophetic discipleship (13:31-35). Continue reading

Sabbath Economics

Sabbath EconBartimaeus Cooperative Ministries has proclaimed a Jubilee on their Sabbath Economics curriculum, packaging their regular Sabbath Economics book bundle with the Mammon to Manna DVD at a super Sabbath price of just $7.77 for all three (plus shipping, and tax where applicable). Click here to order. This is a quote from The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics by Ched Myers (2001):

Privately controlled wealth is the backbone of capitalism, and it is predicated upon the exploitation of natural resources and human labor. Profit maximization renders socio-economic stratification, objectification and alienation inevitable. According to the gospel, however, those who are privileged within this system cannot enter the Kingdom. This is not good news for First World Christians–because we are the “inheritors” of the rich man’s legacy. So the unequivocal gospel invitation to repentance is addressed to us. To deconstruct our “inheritance” and redistribute the wealth as reparation to the poor–that is what it means for us to follow Jesus.

Learning from Laughter: Sabbath Economics Support Group for Parents

cherriesBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

“But one of the greatest gifts we feel she can receive is a life in this community: we want her to know and feel the love of people who are alive, who don’t give a damn about money and who are willing to do with their lives what they think God is asking”                                             – Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann Continue reading

Our Most Fundamental Act Of Consumption

From Jonathan Safran-Foer’s Eating Animals (2010):

A good number of people seem to be tempted to continue supporting factory farms while also buying meat outside that system when it is available. That’s nice. But if it is as far as our moral imaginations can stretch, then it’s hard to be optimistic about the future. Any plan that involves funneling money to the factory farm won’t end factory farming. How effective would the Montgomery bus boycott have been if the protestors had used the bus when it became inconvenient not to? How effective would a strike be if workers announced they would go back to work as soon as it became difficult to strike? If anyone finds in this book encouragement to buy some meat from alternative sources while buying factory farm meat as well, they have found something that isn’t there.
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We know, at least, that this decision will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve public health, and help eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in world history. What we don’t know, though, may be just as important. How would making such a decision change us?
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What kind of world would be create if three times a day we activated our compassion and reason as we sat down to eat, if we had the moral imagination and the pragmatic will to change our most fundamental act of consumption.
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Choosing leaf or flesh, factory farm or family farm, does not in itself change the world, but teaching ourselves, our children, our local communities, and our nation to choose conscience over ease can. One of the greatest opportunities to live our values—or betray them—lies in the food we put on our plates. And we will live or betray our values not only as individuals, but as nations.