Jacques Peretti is back again for another mini series exploring our societies relationship with wealth, consumption and how we are living. Yes, hot on the heels of his last series ‘The Men who made us spend‘ we now have the follow up ‘The Super Rich and Us‘. It well worth a watch
Oxfam’s latest campaign ‘Even it up‘ highlights the reality of the great and growing inequality in our world with this incredible stat ‘ The Worlds 85 Richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 Billion poorest people’
That truly is inequality on a truly epic scale
I also found this article on the ideas behind the rise and development of the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ to be a helpful and very smart read.
The issues of wealth, money, investing, buying, consuming and how we live are complex, but also profoundly spiritual and the stuff of how we live life and how we enact our worship and our values in the everyday of life. We may almost certainly not be part of the ‘super rich’ or even consider ourselves to be ‘rich’, however we all have some spending power and influence, and how we use the resources we have been given is important and does matter in the everyday and mundane as well as in our bigger life decisions.
From buying fair trade food, fair phones, being generous with our giving and sharing more and buying less we can make a difference.
The importance, complexity and diverse approaches to the issue where brilliantly highlighted in a recent feature on Church and Politics in the Daily Politics show. This 8 min clip is well worth a viewing.
In 2015 (and beyond) Tearfund will be working on the theme of A Just and Sustainable Economy and will be launching a new Campaign in the Spring, as well as a report and a work of underpinning theology. Watch this Space.
Happy New Year. Hope you had a good break and have had a good start to 2015. How many of us made resolutions, and if we did, have we already broken them?
Breathe’s strapline’ Less Stuff, More Life’ can be a particularly challenging one over the season we have just participated in. There is an excellent Nomad Podcast from Mark Powley that is well worth a listen as we move on from Christmas into the New Year and seek the way of living well with less, being content and joyful with enough and being able to cherish what we do have. Apparently the issue isn’t so much the way we go about Christmas, but the way we go about the rest of the year. Interesting!
I have to confess that I am increasingly conscious that I do love stuff, particularly food stuffs, and once again this Christmas I did overindulge and eat to much. I should have made a resolution to make some changes in the New Year, but I have not done this…. The Diet starts tomorrow, or on Monday is instead my familiar cry!
But this is not all a tale of woe and despair. I also bring hope and joy and life! At Christmas as a family we asked for less stuff and more life by receiving alternative gifts. We were given the gifts of membership to Kew Gardens and also very generously to The Royal Palaces. Its a tiny thing, but for us it means we can have some really great life experiences together in 2015 and cherish these more throughout the year rather than a gift that might be used and forgotten by February. I am really looking forward to making use of these experiences and really seeking to enjoy them all together. We chose (in this case) to have less stuff that we might have more life!
What One thing could you do this year to have/get less stuff and in the process of letting go/losing that gain more life in all its fullness?
The Big Day is almost upon us. Probably now, more than ever, we need to be reminded that Christmas starts with Christ and that there is more to this season than the craziness of Black Friday and Manic Monday.
The Advent Conspiracy has been around for a few years now but the message is no less relevant or important. It was started by a few churches who realised:
The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship. So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt? Somehow, we’ve traded the best story in the world for the story of what’s on sale.
Watch their great promo video to find out more.
Their key message is that Christmas can still change the world, and we can be part of this through 4 actions:
It starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.
Quick question for you: What was the one gift you remember getting for Christmas last year? Next question: What about the fourth gift? Do you remember that one? Truth is many of us don’t because it wasn’t something we necessarily wanted or needed. Spending Less isn’t a call to stop giving gifts; it’s a call to stop spending money on gifts we won’t remember in less than a year. America spends around $600 billion during the Christmas season, and much of that is joyless and goes right onto a credit card. By spending wisely on gifts we free ourselves from the anxiety associated with debt so we can take in the season with a full heart.
We know what you’re thinking. “Wait, didn’t they just say I should spend less, and yet here they are telling me to give more? What’s that all about?” The most powerful, memorable gift you can give to someone else is yourself. And nobody modelled this more than Jesus. So what does this look like for you? Tickets to a ball game or the theatre? A movie night? The main point is simple: When it comes to spending time with those you love, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
It all boils down to love. Love from a saviour. Love to a neighbour in need. By spending just a little less on gifts we free up our resources to love as Jesus loves by giving to those who really need help. This is the conspiracy three churches began a few years ago, and has since grown to an international movement where thousands of churches have raised millions of dollars to love others in life-changing ways. It’s not that there’s something wrong with the shopping mall—it’s that the better story is about loving all.
So as you start / continue to run around like a headless chicken for your final Christmas preparations, remember that it’s about so much more than more shopping, more food, more debt, more stress. Christmas should be about more love, more compassion, more sacrifice, more time – Emmanuel, God with us – then, now and forever.
The Guys at Nomad Podcast are doing a brilliant series of Christmas specials – 12 Podcasts for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. They have got some brilliant guests who are all giving some short (10-15 min) reflections on Christmas. Well worth a listen. (Dave Andrews, Phylis Tickle, Greg Boyd and Jenny Baker to name but 4)
The image featured here is of one of the reflections by David Benjamin Blower. His Book and Album ‘Kingdom vs Empire‘ is brilliant and really resonates with the Breathe theme of ‘Less Stuff, More Life’. One of the Chapters/Songs from this work touches on the themes of Consumerism and how we have arguably allowed advertisers to ‘raise our Children’! It’s challenging, but also thought provoking stuff.
Anyway, Have a listen to his NOMAD reflection (complete with Music)
Happy Christmas from Breathe
May you Stop, Breathe, Relax and Smile this Christmas