The relentless fight for political freedom from the market, a missional response

At the height of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln gave and address at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 that contained these words. “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”  What we sometimes forget, is that this battle was directly related to the global market system of the time.  The battle in the USA was whether the State was there in the vision of the founding mothers and fathers of the nation to be centred on human freedom, or like many other nations, end up just another expression of an oppressive feudal state where the uber rich oppress the many.  The battle at the heart of this civil war was for the right to enslave human beings as the cheapest form of labour in the growing of global commodities of the time.  Lincoln won the battle, but I do not think he won the war.  Looking back at the USA now in 2020, I think we can clearly see that the market won and civil rights has never been fully delivered in one of the most divided and unequal societies in the world.

What exists now in the USA and now in the UK is economic slavery, maintaining cheap labour with reduced employment and terrible wages.  The Global Market won, and democracy and equality lost out.  We are now all commodified and where human dignity is now in decline.  You could argue that actually there has been a constant state of battle in the Western World ever since the Black death in 1346, when the feudal system and oppressive market society collapsed in the pandemic, as there were too few workers, so that wages and freedoms had to rise to ensure crops and industry were sustained. It was purely economics that drove this social change, and that since then there has been a battle between a society of justice and fairness v a market feudal oppressive system culminating in our current society.  Until recently you could argue the market had won, but now in another global pandemic, will this give us an opportunity again to diminish the power and relentless scourge of the market society? Or will it actually make a more feudalist system more likely to be reimposed? How does the church respond?

We remember that Jesus’ entire ministry happened in the context of the oppression of the Jewish people under the super power of the time, and that included the imposition of an international market system at the time.  It has always been a personal bafflement to me why Jesus did not call out this oppression at the time, other than Jesus being clear about money about fairness and money being of this world in Caesars name. The only hint of challenge to this, are the words of Jesus before Pilate after he had been flogged where he says “I am not of this world’.  Chad Myers helpfully reminds us that the greek here for ‘world’ here is ‘Kosmos’ the same as ‘domination system’.  With this in mind, Jesus is calling out the Roman Empire as a militaristic market society as a domination system and so we Christians, holding onto our understanding of Jesus ‘now but not fully yet’ Kingdom in the context of having to live in a domination system, but not of a domination system,

I want to point out at this point, I am not being an extreme Socialist or Communist, this is the stories of the Gospels and and Letters of the Apostles, and my thought has always been that more conservatively inclined Christians really need to get back the Gospel narrative, as you will be in for a shock!

So how do Christians react to the reality that our market society continues to oppression and now leads to destruction with global warming and ecocide.  Mission has to start with economic, ecological and social justice.  These are the heart of the Judaeo-Christian understandings of stewardship, jubilee and the Kingdom.  We can not idly sit by and see successive governments just continue to oppress people.  What will it take for Christians in the UK to stand up to the oppression of the market and the invisible power of the super-rich as Jesus sides with the unbearably poor?  What will it take to seek a Government that prevents the excesses of the market system by what used to be called a mixed economy?  What will it take for this to be seen by the church to be a missional priority?  It is not just about evangelism , fresh expressions and new ecclesial communities.  like Jesus turned over the market stalls in the temple for causing de-sacralisation, so we as Christians should be challenging and turning over the market stalls threatening the wellbeing of people and the continued existence of our planet.  It is high time that the Christian Church rediscovered it’s calling and historic roots. Now in this pandemic, can we face this calling to prophetic witness and prophetic living.

Advent Grace

We give thanks for the journey of this food
The waiting involved
The hiddeness of the seed
The fragility of the egg
From the seed to the fruit
From the egg to the bird
From the field to our plates
Giving us life and energy

As advent reminds us of your conception in us
The miracle that God makes his home in us
Help us remember the miracle of the seed
planted in the depths of the earth
Help us remember new life
Which grows and feeds us.

We give thanks for the small God
We give thanks for the small seed
We give thanks for the fragile egg
We give thanks for life.For Love or Money the movie Ocean’s Eleven dvdrip Imprint movie download Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie video

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The Garden grows

So far the potatoes look good, carrots (purple and orange), beetroot, parsnips, lettuce, spring onions, spinach and cucumber are all popping out the ground. We are hardening off the corguettes, squashes, peppers and tomatoes, and have wild strawberries scattered around. Now the issue is to try not and let the slugs near or lose the veggies. My issue is that i have been quite disciplined this year with weeding so far but the idea of slug hunting by torchlight or keeping weeding is not my idea of a good night out. As a weak completer/finisher in personality type I see this now as an area for personal growth as well as veggie growth, but even typing about it fills me with horror. i fear the challenge is beyond me, can we overcome my nature with a little nurture?

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When will the leaves fall?

My family and some friends annually celebrate ‘Leaf day’ – where we mark the leaves falling, recognise the passing of another summer and prepare ourselves for winter. This is one of the rituals that we seek to keep to remind and reconnect us to the rhythm of our year and seasons. We do this with games for the kids in the leaves, eating and doing something crafty and a meditation for the adults about the joys of letting go and the beautiful lessons and colours that death can reveal to us.

But here in Nottingham the leaves are not falling (some are, but not in great quantities) …. So we wait and we hope that the leaves will fall before the season of Advent begins.

Oil Be Going Now…

Seeing as the price of oil hit a record high a few hours ago (, I thought it appropriate to post an article which I wrote for the new edition of Benchmark Magazine (

Is the trend of man’s entire history about to be reversed? Are we going to start getting poorer instead of inexorably richer?

It is possible that the worldwide production rate of oil may have peaked in December 2004, that our supply of oil is slowing down, whilst our demand for oil is still accelerating. The absolute inevitability of this scenario, whether or not it is actually happening now, demands our attention.

In the UK today our energy use is at about 5KW per person. If we consider our waking day and how much useful work we do, then each of us has the energy equivalent of about 250 people working for us! Now, if the amount of oil available, per person, declines (which it is doing already, due to the increase in the number of people making more use of oil) then we become poorer. This is reflected by the price of oil going up faster than our income.

O.K. – so we’re going to become a bit poorer, so what? Well, whilst becoming a bit poorer doesn’t sound too devastating, it can be to a proportion of society. The norm in times of recession is that there is a decrease in consumer, and business spending, an increase in unemployment, bankruptcies and home repossessions. Decline isn’t pleasantly ordered, it is more a case of the weak being picked off!

So what is our responsibility as Christians? Well, unfortunately our responsibility was evident some 40 years ago or more – we have a responsibility to reduce our energy consumption, leaving more non-renewable fossil fuels in the ground for future generations. Instead we steal their wealth from them, while they are still unborn. Now, it is all the more urgent that we stop and consider the price that our children will pay for our greed.

However, aside from such idealistic hopes of reform, we must continue in our regeneration, where we gain control over our motives of greed and focus more and more on those around us. In our communities today people are living death. Our youth see lives devoted to slaving for their shelter with house prices so high that they are continually giving tribute payments to the older generation of ‘haves’. Let us open our hearts and minds to the injustices that we seem so blind to and give people an understanding of Christ’s love in practical ways that really mean something to them. Perhaps this is through charity, perhaps through fairness in trade, perhaps by sharing and perhaps it is through a change in our own consumer lifestyles.

Is America being selfish?

I thought it was time for rant, but I was so down about Americas attitude towards climate change and the Kyoto agreement, and hearing the news today about their attitude to Browns proposal for debt relief and the G8 just made want to scream. Is it an attitude held just at the top of government or is it a widely held protectionist position arising from the masses. The few Americans I know are as concerned about debt in Africa as many of my UK friends but what is the groundswell opinion. Has consumerism pervaded so deeply that now it is translated into what I can only describe as an overt SELFISHNESS that seems to be the motivating factor and attitude the white house holds as a plumbline when deciding on most issues but particularly towards debt and climate control.