Slavery, consumerism and…

A few days ago Chris Bourne posted a comment on the blog Gates of Society and it provoked me a lot. There was so many elements in his comment and I am just looking to pick up on one aspect here. So a quick reminder from that post. The rulership (commodification) by politics that is so visible over such areas in society as education and health exposes a root myth about the inter-dependence of the ‘spheres’ (not sure what word to use here!!), yet how politics has become, or always has been, subject to economics. OK so much for the recap.

Chris’ comment provoked this line of thinking:

  • when we are enslaved – we will seek to enslave.
  • western society (it is more visible there) and society is ultimately enslaved to Mammon. Hence the ‘you cannot serve…’ statement of Jesus or the mark of the beast that forbids the buying and selling.
  • the necessary partner to Empire has to be Mammon, that which is the driver behind consumerism.
  • the only antidote to Empire is that of contented boundaries. This is how I understand Genesis and the Garden. There is a boundary required to counter Empire, and God gives the least possible restriction: only do not eat of this one tree. The fruit of that tree is of course very critical, and ties to independent self-determination.
  • consumerism, the original sin, is how the enslavement to Mammon is evidenced.
    There then is a flow, from accumulating commodity, to luxury, to expansion through war, to the ultimate of ‘bio-power’

So back to the book written well-before-its-time, Revelation:

The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble. She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, wagons, and bodies—that is, human slaves. (18: 11-13, New Living Translation).

Notes:
1. The last two elements read as: ‘bodies, human souls’.

2. I suggest there is a progression in the list from the seeking to possess the ‘valuable’ commodities, to the enjoyment of luxuries, to gathering the war materials (horses and chariots – wagons in the above translation)… to the ultimate consuming of lives, the very ‘soul’.

What was set as original direction:
contented, creative, growing stewardship in the context of partnership, all flowing from an understanding of the generosity of heaven in order to release a reflected, yet real, generosity. That is truly counter-empire. Something of that was recovered in the early Christian community (my daily reading included Acts 3 & 4 today, ‘they had all things in common’) touched by the generosity of heaven they then lived that out as reflected in the generosity towards one another.

The original direction was rejected:
‘I saw… I desired… I took… I consumed’ being the Genesis 3 pattern.
Then unfolds the pattern that can reach a fullness with the total consumption even of the ‘human soul’. It is into this that Jesus came ‘at the fullness of times’, and perhaps there is another ‘fullness of times’ that we are approaching yet again. The slavery of the first Century has given way to the ‘matrix’ that is our slavery.

And yet I think the good news is that there never is a fullness (the beast ‘was, is not, and is to come’ Rev. 17:8). The ‘is to come’ is the constant threat, but not the necessary consequence. The threat of ultimate consumption hovers between the past and the foreboding future. It hovers there held in check, for it is the kingdom of God that is to come is the constant promise (the kingdom of ‘the One who is and who was and who is to come’).

So how is it all brought down? We have to be consumed (we are being consumed anyway) but consumed as prophets and saints (18:24). To be consumed in that way we have to be those who have been set free from slavery, thus becoming those whose lives are poured out.

Time and the economy of trust

First a quick apology for posting mostly other media of late and not anything scribbled by my tinkering mind, but I am in a season of cultivation and drawing from many sources, hence the “Hey try the Merlot it has a smoky aftertaste” approach to where I am (in real life I am currently in a season in Oklahoma immersed in caregiving for my own mother and it is a brutal confrontation with the reality of the limits of this mortal coil)…

Back to our scheduled programming…I notice Martin is posting a bit about time and I have tried to follow his discussions about economics with very little coherent references of my own to draw from economics is a subject I avoided like the plague until I discovered its potential to cure said plague…so this little video gave me a lot of hope of something emerging from the grass-roots of humanity…its mostly about a movement to develop an alternative currency based on time and I found it incredibly encouraging…its about 6 minutes so well worth your time to invest in (pun intended).

 

By the way the site “Nationswell” this comes from should be a good antidote for those of you across the pond(s) who think America is becoming all Trumped and Cruzing for Apocalypse…I have pretty well given up any real sense that the political machine running things here will do much more than run them to the edges of the abyss and peer over before running the other direction to do the same on the opposite side…it’s exhausting so I need to remind myself that God is much more at work in the dirt of humanity than He is in the mascara…(which is made of dirt)

This site

About this site

I am the main contributor to this site, though there are guest writers from time to time. Hopefully, what is presented are perspectives not the final word!

The main area that I focus on and continues to interest me is how we should understand and live out the gospel. I am convinced (a perspective!) that we have to understand the implications of the gospel as being that of impacting the world. Although the kingdom of heaven can never be identified with any 'earthly' kingdom we are called to pray, live and act, so that we see greater measures of heaven manifest on earth.

I am very grateful that I have been deeply influenced by a charismatic theology, an anabaptist understanding of hermeneutics, a long-term involvement in the various intercessory / spiritual warfare, and the (more-recent) work associated with 'kenarchy'. backgrounds. They all influence me enormously and it will not take too much discernment to read those influences in these pages.

Why Spain

Why Spain

spain-mapGayle and I have lived in Spain since 2009 (Jan. 1 - start the year as one intends to carry on?) and although Spain was not a place that was on either of our radar, the continent of Europe certainly has been. In that sense we have a focus on Europe and live in Spain, however as we have dug into the history of Spain something has got under our skin.

Spain has only a recent history of democracy (1975-1977 being years of transition to democracy, post Franco), and has been subject to a two-party domination in politics, until the end of 2015 when that was broken. Although our hope is not placed in a political party we see incredible connections between the shift of the 'powers' and the time in history that has been unlocked through prayer.

Our own focus has been on the history of the land and we have had a strong focus on the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath.

We plan to be based in Spain long-term and increasingly look to connect with those who are embedded in the wider European context and are seeking to live out the implications of their faith in that setting.

WordPress design

WordPress design

wordpress_logo20I began developing sites for my personal use many years ago and settled on WordPress soon after it moving from being simply a blogging platform. I find it incredibly flexible and can empower virtually any style of site. My skills are in working with clients who wish something custom made for their use.

This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. A site can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or any number of elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated when clicking the tabs above. All the sites are designed to be mobile-friendly, being responsive, they adjust to the device being used to view them.

If interested in a site feel free to make contact. I also have developed various courses on WP theme development. If interested in taking one of them online, or indeed you would wish to contact me about presenting a course to a small group.

This site
Why Spain
WordPress design

About this site

I am the main contributor to this site, though there are guest writers from time to time. Hopefully, what is presented are perspectives not the final word!

The main area that I focus on and continues to interest me is how we should understand and live out the gospel. I am convinced (a perspective!) that we have to understand the implications of the gospel as being that of impacting the world. Although the kingdom of heaven can never be identified with any 'earthly' kingdom we are called to pray, live and act, so that we see greater measures of heaven manifest on earth.

I am very grateful that I have been deeply influenced by a charismatic theology, an anabaptist understanding of hermeneutics, a long-term involvement in the various intercessory / spiritual warfare, and the (more-recent) work associated with 'kenarchy'. backgrounds. They all influence me enormously and it will not take too much discernment to read those influences in these pages.

Why Spain

spain-mapGayle and I have lived in Spain since 2009 (Jan. 1 - start the year as one intends to carry on?) and although Spain was not a place that was on either of our radar, the continent of Europe certainly has been. In that sense we have a focus on Europe and live in Spain, however as we have dug into the history of Spain something has got under our skin.

Spain has only a recent history of democracy (1975-1977 being years of transition to democracy, post Franco), and has been subject to a two-party domination in politics, until the end of 2015 when that was broken. Although our hope is not placed in a political party we see incredible connections between the shift of the 'powers' and the time in history that has been unlocked through prayer.

Our own focus has been on the history of the land and we have had a strong focus on the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath.

We plan to be based in Spain long-term and increasingly look to connect with those who are embedded in the wider European context and are seeking to live out the implications of their faith in that setting.

WordPress design

wordpress_logo20I began developing sites for my personal use many years ago and settled on WordPress soon after it moving from being simply a blogging platform. I find it incredibly flexible and can empower virtually any style of site. My skills are in working with clients who wish something custom made for their use.

This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. A site can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or any number of elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated when clicking the tabs above. All the sites are designed to be mobile-friendly, being responsive, they adjust to the device being used to view them.

If interested in a site feel free to make contact. I also have developed various courses on WP theme development. If interested in taking one of them online, or indeed you would wish to contact me about presenting a course to a small group.

God and time

It is so common to hear or read that ‘God is outside of time’, or in the more classical old-style theological way ‘the eternal now of God’. Language when applied to God is problematic, but this concept of time owes more to the influence of philosophy (Greek based) than to the Hebrew scriptures. This does […]

Gates of society

I have written at times on what can be variously termed ‘gates’, ‘spheres’ and (one I object to) ‘mountains of influence’. Recently though I have been thinking again about these aspects. So first to note that language, with all its weaknesses, is important. Language carries concepts, hence the ‘mountain-type’ language I consider very unhelpful as […]

Uncontrolling Love

Not everyone enjoys what I enjoy, but read this book and of course you will love it! Oord is one of the leading ‘relational theologians’ and this is the first book of his I have read. It is well written and easy to read – I read it right through in a few hours. I […]

Alive and well

Well that has been a LOOOONG time since I have been here on the site to blog. Partly we have been focused with travel, catching up with family and friends, and now trying to come round from 26 hours of travel, jet lag and all that goes with that. Partly too as I wanted some […]