It’s been a long time since I saw my mail had been checked. The first time was in Togo in 1987 during a coup, the second was in Israel during the 2008 war in Gaza. Now I’m in my home town, and it happens. It’s an invitation card from my church to participate in the now international movement called Advent Conspiracy. The word “conspiracy” could be tagged as a possible security threat, to be sure. But that was on the inside of the card. Outside, just name of church, our name and address. Maybe a scanner read what was taped inside: “Advent Conspiracy: Worship fully. Spend Less. Give More. Love all.” A Threat? Unpatriotic? Countercultural, yes.
Worship fully. God, not country, God, not security, God, not economy, God, not culture. God, not self. God, not doctrine. God, not tradition.
Spend less. Definitely a threat to the American economy, as seen by the measurers of “economic growth.” Economic growth depends on continuous and increasing consumption. Which depends on production, but not production as in nature, as one stage in a cycle using recycled materials. We all learned about that in elementary school. It goes like this: production of energetic organic material by plants using free and essentially unlimited sun’s energy along with surface materials and atmospheric gases -> consumption of plant material by animals and the like, to obtain essential energy and nutrients for life processes -> decomposition of bodies and waste with the aid of organisms, releasing solid and gaseous materials and waste heat -> production by plants using sun’s energy and these recycled materials…
Our economic system: Specialized extractors use refined fossil energy sources to obtain finite fossil energy stores -> Energy stores converted to refined energy sources and other materials, releasing waste heat and waste materials -> Refined energy sources transported to consumer-producers, using refined energy sources as fuel -> Specialized consumer-producers (manufacturers) use materials obtained through the use of specialized materials extractors (using refined energy sources) to assemble consumable products, using refined energy sources -> Products transported to markets, using refined energy sources -> Consumers “use” products, often without obtaining energy or essential nutrients -> Used products discarded, or reused then discarded -> Wastes transported, sorted and stored, dumped or recycled, using refined energy sources -> ?
Give more: If people just give, how can other people make a living by selling goods and services? And how can recipients of gifts be motivated to work so as to be able to consume market goods? What about the decreased tax revenue due to charitable giving (possibly balanced by less need for government social programs)? If the food is not locked up and sold in installments, what will happen to the economy then?
Love all: Even people that don’t keep buying things to look good and keep up their homes to the standards set by fashion? People content with their simplicity?
We call it Advent Conspiracy for a reason. Con=against, spire=breath or wind. Conspiracy goes against the prevailing wind. Conspiracies are counter-cultural, in opposition to powerful forces which may be from within as well as without, and carried out by people working together against the wind. Worship fully. Spend less. Give more. Love more.