I also sent the following out to the house church today, as I’ve been trying to facilitate a conversation about how we can help one another "practice resurrection." Here it is:
…So I’m writing now simply to share some thoughts/ideas about how to be
much more creative in "practicing resurrection," or "whole-life
discipleship" or whatever you want to call it. Of course, a big part
of this way of life for many of us involves the recognition that to
choose this Way (of Jesus and his cross and resurrection) means
leaving behind everything that might compete with it, including the
For Kirsten and Samuel and I, opting out of the American dream and all
of its entangling encumbrances in order to better follow Jesus has
several implications. One of the first and most obvious implications
is that life as members of an "intentional community" is a "must," not
a "maybe"- at least for us. I just don’t see how we can faithfully
follow the teaching, example, and lordship of Jesus without being
connected to a group of peers in mutually sacrificial and accountable
relationships of interdependence. In short, we need each other in
order to follow Jesus instead of the money-god. Because the American
way of life has a direct, causal relationship with the way of life of
the world’s poor majority, the only way to subvert it (from within, no
less) is to reject the atomizing individualism that it seeks to impose
on everyone. We simply don’t "need" two houses when one (with one
mortgage) can hold a number of us. We don’t need several cars when one
can be shared, or several washers/dryers or several lawnmowers, etc.
There is a better way, "a better world," and it will come as quickly
as we begin to really work together.
But of course there’s a lot of work involved. Remembering that most of
the world is desperately poor because even us "middle-class" Americans
are so embarrassingly rich, we need to really examine our consumptive
way of life anew. Shane Claiborne makes his own clothes with his mom
every year because the major clothing brands exploit the poor of the
world in order to produce their wares. What can we do about this?
Well, do some research, or ask Kirsten about what she’s been finding
out as she does some research for us. It doesn’t take much effort to
know, for example, that Wal-Mart even exploits its workers here in the
U.S., choosing to close stores rather than let its employees unionize,
for example. Do a little more digging, though, and you find that
Target isn’t much better, at least in terms of the working conditions
around the world of those who produce Target’s major brands. Here are
some possible responses to all this:
- To borrow a phrase: "shop local." Support your independent retailer
while they still exist!
- Like Scripture says, share! Take advantage of "hand-me-down’s," and
don’t limit them to nuclear families.
- If you must buy clothing, shop the thrift stores first. Kohl’s is
notorious for the horrible working conditions of its suppliers, but if
you can buy a Kohl’s shirt at a thrift store, well I’d call that
practicing resurrection. You’re supporting a good cause and re-using
that unjustly-created shirt. Take a look at your "new" shirt, though.
If it has a logo on it, and that logo represents a company that you
know you can’t just support, don’t walk around as free advertising for
them. Swallow your pride (and maybe your sophisticated fashion sense)
and cover that logo up, or rip it out and replace it; be creative(!),
but don’t just wear it because it happens to be there.
- Fight forced obsolescence! Many of the products we buy are designed
to become obsolete in short order, not because they don’t work anymore
or because something much better has arrived (though this is sometimes
the case), but rather because the manufacturers want you to spend your
money on their products again! Until recently, Kirsten and I had cable
TV and a DVR, even though our VCR works perfectly fine. With kingdom-
eyes (speaking only for us, of course), this is just plain silly.
I could go on, as always, but these are some ideas. Do you have any?