Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Church of Life After Shopping

In observance of this great week-end of the celebration of all kinds of over-indulgence, I'm spending a bit of time looking at Rev Billy and The Church of Life After Shopping. Part of Reverend Billy's belief statement says:
Our neighborhoods, "commons" places like stoops and parks and streets and libraries, are disappearing into the corporatized world of big boxes and chain stores. But if we "back away from the product" – even a little bit, well then we Put The Odd Back In God!

You can watch What Would Jesus Buy here:

or here.
"We used to be a nation of producers. Now we're a nation of consumers."
"We're proceeding into this shopping season under an enormous misunderstanding. We think that we are consumers at Christmastime. No! We are being consumed at Christmastime."
"What was Christmas before the shopping started?"
"Start Giving. Stop shopping."

from the film's web site:
What Would Jesus Buy? follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt!

Rev Billy's site provides a link to, which says
Let me summarise the idea of Christian responsibilty in four areas:

We have a duty to God.
Psalm 24 begins with the following words: ‘The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’ The earth is not ours. Contrary to some popular understanding, God did not give us the earth – he gave us the use of it.

We have a duty to the world
In Genesis we read that God made the earth good, and that the earth is ‘cursed’ because of us. Human behaviour and the state of the earth are inextricably linked. Have a look at Hosea 4, where it describes a society’s violence and dishonesty, and goes on to say: ‘Because of this the land mourns…’

We have a duty to each other
A very simple principle that John the Baptist puts best in Luke 3: ‘The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.’
and more.

Following the link trail from there, I find a site which says,
The consumer dream is, in essence, the promise that happiness will come to us through our consumer choices. I will be a more fulfilled person if I have a larger house, a faster car, and newer clothes. I will feel better about myself, and others will like me more.

On paper, it looks patently false and insulting to our intelligence. And yet somehow we’re all drawn into it, to one degree or another.
As Christians, we have a different reality, a higher purpose than this endless cycle of distraction and gratification. We know who we are in Christ, and we express that identity through our love for each other, not our choice of logos. We are at liberty to live simply, because our sense of value doesn’t come from what we own. It comes from the knowledge that we’re made in the image of God.

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