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BY REV. BILLY KLUTTZ

November 29, 2019


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Capitalist consumerism, one more form of social control.

Citing the destruction of the planet and exploitation of people, Professor Alan Bradshaw urges readers to resist mindless consumption on Black Friday in his opinion piece for The Guardian today.

Better is a little with righteousness than large income with injustice.

-Proverbs 16: 8, New Revised Standard Version

Bradshaw’s op-ed chronicles the myriad cultural and philosophical movements that have organized to oppose rabid materialism: Elizabethan writers, Marxist philosophers, Adbusters, and even Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. All have failed.

How can our spiritual work cultivate the kind of “joyful anti-consumerism” that workers and the environment need? To me, calls for contentment and the work for justice can seem almost antithetical. Isn’t justice seeking itself a form of saying, “the way things are isn’t good enough?”

Perhaps radical contentment within our own selves allows us to be radically discontent with the injustice of the world around us. Gratitude gifts us spiritually for the work of justice by removing the individualistic distractions of consumption and focusing us instead on collective discontentment and the needs of our neighbors.

Brainstorm how you can resist consumerism this Advent and Christmas season. Invite your friends and family to join you in consciously celebrating these holy seasons. Need inspiration? My congregation, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, created eco-devotionals for last year’s Advent season. Congregants shared their ideas for environmental care and paired them with Scriptures and prayers for each day of Advent. I hope these community devotionals might inspire you to create your own this year, or try following them yourself!

Holy One,

You have given us enough

And so, we give you thanks

For the gifts we need to challenge and change

For companions on the journey toward reconciliation

 

We give you thanks for the wisdom of our bodies

The creativity and passion of our minds

The grounding of our own souls in a world unsettled and turned

 

And we give you thanks

For the unsettling, as well

We thank you for the moments when our being breaks through the complacency of markets

To name what is not right and what still can be

 

Help us to hold both of these truths deep in our being, Holy One,

Giving thanks and giving voice,

Breathing in and breathing out,

Growing and rising still


Amen

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