Five-Fold Today

The Economy of Holiness - America In Decline - Double-Dip Depression: Is it Here? - Playing Chicken with the American Dream - Time to Turn the American Economic Model Upside Down? - 30 Years Ago Today: The Day the Middle Class Died - A European Revival of Liberation Theology

August 9th, 2011

The Economy of Holiness

By F. Richard Garland

 In her book, The Monastery of the Heart, Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie, PA, writes: "Benedictine spirituality calls us to the tasks of living and refuses to allow anything we do to be lost to the economy of holiness: not kitchen tasks, not reading, not personal relationships, not work, not even our small service to strangers.  It confronts us with a moral determination to care for the poorest of the poor, to respect the whole of society, to open our arms to the entire gamut of life and see it as our obligation to participate in the co-creation of the world."

 "The economy of holiness:" It is a phrase that we are not accustomed to hearing. If anything, having watched the financial shenanigans that very nearly destroyed the world economy, and with it the jobs and lives of so many people, it seems that there is little holiness associated with it all. When we hear the word 'economy' we think of money, finances and wealth. A definition of the word 'economy' focuses on "...the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., especially with a view to its productivity."  In fact the origin of the word has to do with "the management of household affairs." Ironically, dictionaries now call this definition 'obsolete.' Therein, I think, lies our problem, and why we need to pay attention to Joan Chittister's important insight.

 Wendell Berry has written in his book What Matters: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth: "Over a long time, and by means of a set of handy prevarications, our economy has become an anti-economy, a financial system without a sound economic basis and without economic virtues." He goes on: "Finance, as opposed to economy, is always ready and eager to confuse wants with needs." It really should not surprise us that the world's financial systems unraveled, under siege from greed, short-sighted policies and decisions, unregulated and unwatched financial institutions, and people who imagine that they can borrow their way into prosperity, all for the purpose of accumulating piles upon piles of cash and possessions. We are learning that economics is too important to be defined solely in financial terms, and left to the 'financial types." As Henry Ward Beecher wryly put it: "Wealth is like manure, if you heap it up all in one place, you can hardly stand it; but if you spread it out evenly over the earth, it may do some good."

 That's where the economy of holiness comes in. It does not confuse wants for needs, asks us to live with "a moral determination to care for the poorest of the poor, to respect the whole of society, to open our arms to the entire gamut of life and see it as our obligation to participate in the co-creation of the world."

 John Wesley understood this and used the terms "personal holiness" and "social holiness" to describe our inward growth in the love of God and neighbor, which in turn leads to outward works of love.  He understood that all of humanity is one family and that we live in one household. For him faithfulness moved from personal holiness to social holiness: "The feeding the hungry, the clothing the naked, the entertaining or assisting the stranger, the visiting those that are sick or in prison, the comforting the afflicted, the instructing the ignorant, the reproving the wicked, the exhorting and encouraging the well-doer."

 When economies forget what Chittister calls "the moral determination to care for the poorest of the poor, to respect the whole of society, to open our arms to the entire gamut of life and see it as our obligation to participate in the co-creation of the world," they become tyrannies that end up destroying the household of human kind. We are called to give witness that there is an economy of holiness that calls all people to account. When we are seduced by the siren song of wealth, we will run aground on the hard rock of reality that wrecks the illusion that money and possession alone will be the measure of our worth.

 Chittister writes that nothing is to be regarded as "secular" or unimportant, and that nothing is left out of the equation of sanctity. That is a conversion of the heart that gives witness that there is a larger economy of holiness that builds up the whole human community, that has, in deed chosen to "do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God."

America In Decline

By Noam Chomsky

“It is a common theme’ that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay,’ Giacomo Chiozza writes in the current Political Science Quarterly.

The theme is indeed widely believed. And with some reason, though a number of qualifications are in order. To start with, the decline has proceeded since the high point of U.S. power after World War II, and the remarkable triumphalism of the post-Gulf War '90s was mostly self-delusion.

Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country and bewilders the world, may have no analogue in the annals of parliamentary democracy.

The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office may in fact bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

Corporate power´s ascendancy over politics and society – by now mostly financial – has reached the point that both political organizations, which at this stage barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

For the public, the primary domestic concern is unemployment. Under current circumstances, that crisis can be overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the recent one, which barely matched decline in state and local spending – though even that limited initiative probably saved millions of jobs.

For financial institutions the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is under discussion. A large majority of the population favor addressing the deficit by taxing the very rich (72 percent, 27 percent opposed), reports a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Cutting health programs is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69 percent Medicaid, 78 percent Medicare). The likely outcome is therefore the opposite.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes surveyed how the public would eliminate the deficit. PIPA director Steven Kull writes, “Clearly both the administration and the Republican-led House (of Representatives) are out of step with the public´s values and priorities in regard to the budget.’

The survey illustrates the deep divide: “The biggest difference in spending is that the public favored deep cuts in defense spending, while the administration and the House propose modest increases. The public also favored more spending on job training, education and pollution control than did either the administration or the House.’

The final “compromise’ – more accurately, capitulation to the far right – is the opposite throughout, and is almost certain to lead to slower growth and long-term harm to all but the rich and the corporations, which are enjoying record profits.

Not even discussed is that the deficit would be eliminated if, as economist Dean Baker has shown, the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the U.S. were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies´, which have half the per capita costs and health outcomes that are comparable or better.

The financial institutions and Big Pharma are far too powerful for such options even to be considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial transactions tax.

Meanwhile new gifts are regularly lavished on Wall Street. The House Appropriations Committee cut the budget request for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the prime barrier against financial fraud. The Consumer Protection Agency is unlikely to survive intact.

Congress wields other weapons in its battle against future generations. Faced with Republican opposition to environmental protection, American Electric Power, a major utility, shelved “the nation´s most prominent effort to capture carbon dioxide from an existing coal-burning power plant, dealing a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible for global warming,’ The New York Times reported.

The self-inflicted blows, while increasingly powerful, are not a recent innovation. They trace back to the 1970s, when the national political economy underwent major transformations, ending what is commonly called “the Golden Age’ of (state) capitalism.

Two major elements were financialization (the shift of investor preference from industrial production to so-called FIRE: finance, insurance, real estate) and the offshoring of production. The ideological triumph of “free market doctrines,’ highly selective as always, administered further blows, as they were translated into deregulation, rules of corporate governance linking huge CEO rewards to short-term profit, and other such policy decisions.

The resulting concentration of wealth yielded greater political power, accelerating a vicious cycle that has led to extraordinary wealth for a fraction of 1 percent of the population, mainly CEOs of major corporations, hedge fund managers and the like, while for the large majority real incomes have virtually stagnated.

In parallel, the cost of elections skyrocketed, driving both parties even deeper into corporate pockets. What remains of political democracy has been undermined further as both parties have turned to auctioning congressional leadership positions, as political economist Thomas Ferguson outlines in the Financial Times.

“The major political parties borrowed a practice from big box retailers like Walmart, Best Buy or Target,’ Ferguson writes. “Uniquely among legislatures in the developed world, U.S. congressional parties now post prices for key slots in the lawmaking process.’ The legislators who contribute the most funds to the party get the posts.

The result, according to Ferguson, is that debates “rely heavily on the endless repetition of a handful of slogans that have been battle-tested for their appeal to national investor blocs and interest groups that the leadership relies on for resources.’ The country be damned.

Before the 2007 crash for which they were largely responsible, the new post-Golden Age financial institutions had gained startling economic power, more than tripling their share of corporate profits. After the crash, a number of economists began to inquire into their function in purely economic terms. Nobel laureate Robert Solow concludes that their general impact may be negative: “The successes probably add little or nothing to the efficiency of the real economy, while the disasters transfer wealth from taxpayers to financiers.’

By shredding the remnants of political democracy, the financial institutions lay the basis for carrying the lethal process forward – as long as their victims are willing to suffer in silence.

© 2011 Noam Chomsky

Double-Dip Depression: Is it Here?

by Andrew Strom

Five years ago we began prophesying "another Great Depression" and in 2007 even put a timeframe on the start of it. A lot of these predictions have come true, but there was one major one that needed "time" before we could tell one way or the other. This was the prediction that it would be a "Double Dip Depression" - that there would be a partial recovery - then a 'second wave down' in this crisis. (The 'spiritual' implications of this are discussed below).

Yesterday the US stockmarket fell 513 points, which is a very serious fall - the worst since the collapse of 2008. But this does not come out of nowhere. For several months now, the data has begun to point downwards all over the world. As we know, Europe was in deep trouble already - especially Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The Italy/ Spain situation is particularly serious, and could even take down the Eurozone - it is that bad.

But even the UK is flirting with Recession - as are Australia, Japan and many other major nations - including the USA. Already Housing in the US has gone into a "Double Dip" and economists have been getting more and more concerned that the whole economy is about to follow it down. The 'Double Dip' talk is suddenly everywhere.

A Gallup poll in April found that 29% of those queried thought the US economy was in a “depression’ and 26% said that the original recession had persisted into 2011. By July, a different polling group found that roughly 63% of Americans believed that the US economy had slipped into a "double-dip" recession. So clearly, people are feeling it at ground level. Unemployment is still high, housing is tanking - and virtually every economic indicator is pointing down.


I have stated before that I believe the West - particularly America -is going through a great "purging". This still has YEARS to run yet, I believe. And I see it as one of the main things that must happen for Revival to be possible. There must be a "purging" first.

And along with this "seven years of famine" so-to-speak, I believe there is also a SPIRITUAL dearth that is occurring - a famine of the "hearing of the word of the Lord." It is very significant to me that David Wilkerson died this year. And thus America has lost one of her only "watchmen" of any note. It is going to get harder and harder to find the true "word of the Lord". Thus I believe there is a spiritual "famine" underway in the West - that will last about the same length of time as the 'physical' crisis. But our big hope is that at the end of this period, these nations (particularly America) will be ready for a true move of the Holy Spirit of God.

God bless you all.

Andrew Strom.

Playing Chicken with the American Dream

By Larry Snider

About the time my Dad returned from Germany at the conclusion of World War II America established an era of economic growth that enabled vets to go to college and begin careers often working for a single company with reasonable benefits and job security. Even at its height this boom ignored those that lacked the initiative, know-how, skills or experience or were simply born the wrong color to take advantage of the enormous post War development. For those of us old enough to remember or with a taste for the movies one recalls the William Wyler classic; The Best Years of Our Lives. There is no doubt the boom created an economic dynamo that with constant tweaking, lots of tricks, some luck and what many believed was the push of an "invisible hand," continued largely unabated for better than a generation. I have a picture on the wall with my Father opening a new Sinclair station holding up the dinosaur sign with the gas pump reading 27 and 9/10 cents. It was a different age. Whether one went to the movies or listened to the music of Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends; " A time of innocence, a time of confidences," we ran ahead of many of the financial problems that continue to plague those unable to run.

It isn't hard to string together a patchwork quilt of memories that describe the era and our unadulterated headlong flight into the arms of disaster. Whether the now seemingly ancient words reputedly uttered by a Republican leader of the Senate; Everett Dirksen; " A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money?" or those of the modern day poster boy for individual greed once again from the movies; Gordon Gekko, it is clear that the economy is no longer working in the interest of the American people.

The current recession seems to have surpassed many of the natural brakes that have reset our economy in the past. For those of us still unemployed it is virtually impossible to utilize social networks, job search boards and career links to overcome the growing institutional biases against hiring the unemployed, an older worker or anybody whose credit has suffered as a result of too damn much bill juggling. So, becoming a member of the growing community of have nots has not been a pleasant occurrence even if it has its share of enlightening aspects for those of us who grew up with a social conscience.

Two wars and United States involvement in Libya, Yemen and countless additional battlegrounds has drained some of the economic life out of our economy. But that only goes so far to explain the meltdown that ravaged our post-industrial economy. Politicians from both parties gave a free ride to the boys and girls on Wall Street enabling them to do everything possible and increasingly resort to finding ways to do the impossible all in the name of making more money. Many of us rode the bubble economy by investing in new homes at rates that were previously unthinkable and lived in a world that was beyond our means.

All of this happened even as our system of health care for the elderly, disabled and poor absorbed costs manufactured by an industry that became unregulated enough to continue to expand well beyond the inflation rates creating an economic disaster of its own with an Obama fix that increases the numbers covered without effectively managing costs. In this environment nearly everyone feels at risk and fingers are pointing everywhere from labors hard won retirement packages to the geometrical expansion of health care and finally and least effectively to the barons of American business charged with finding new jobs for huge numbers of unemployed.

A newly minted Republican led House of Representatives was elected on promises of no new taxes, ("Read my lips"), and to reform the economy by paying off the debt. Who will bear the burden of a broken economy with health care costs spiraling out of control, unending military adventures and unemployment looking to remain at unacceptable levels indefinitely? Who indeed? No President has won re-election with the economy in such a state and Barak Obama knows it. To get past the debt crisis that looms before us he is ready to sacrifice many of those least able to withstand the sacrifice in hopes of squeaking by, defeating a Republican contender and living in the White House long enough to better address if not resolve this long term mess during his second term.

We are all players in this tragic comedy that has been characterized as nothing short of the end of the American Empire. We can each continue to point fingers, allow our elected officials to continue to play chicken or recognize that we are all Americans who are in over our heads.   We must begin to work together for the kind of fixes that will serve us all by repairing our economy, rebuilding our health care system, refining our military, refurbishing our infrastructure and creating a future that once again lights the way to an American dream that is available to all. Either we stand together beyond politics by transforming our economic crisis into a non-partisan issue or guarantee that our problems will accelerate until they consume us.

Larry Snider is the Coordinator of the Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace; ICMEP. He founded New Hope for Peace, a dialogue and educational forum in 2001 and is a member of the Greater Bucks County Peace Circle.

Time to Turn the American Economic Model Upside Down? Consider alternatives to consumption and growth

By Rob Kall

Is more buying, more consuming what the US needs to recover from the economic straits we're in? Maybe it's time to turn the economy upside down, to create a totally new way of measuring success or positive outcomes.

The basic underlying theory of the conservatives is that taxes discourage spending that leads to growth. But they are supporting big corporations, multinational corporations-- the kinds that pay few or any taxes. What if there was an economic model that measured national economic success by different parameters and standards-- ones that focused on jobs, stability, sustainability, gross national happiness... rather than numbers that don't really help the nation and the people.

For decades, the heads of the US in government, business, commerce, economics have all sought to make the economy healthier through growth by increasing consumption.

flickr image  from Terry McCombs

Since this idea began being wired into the brains of the captains of America, in the 1920s, things have changed. Bill Clinton signed WTO and NAFTA. Bush and Obama have continued to sign international trade agreements that have made industry after US industry extinct, putting tens of millions of US workers either out of work or out of good paying jobs.

Out sourcing of services has made it more and more attractive for US companies to hire internet connected outsourced workers in India, Pakistan, Phillipines, Russia, Poland, etc.

To have a safe job today, you need to do something that can't be outsourced-- chef, auto-mechanic, shift manager (I imagine even that could be outsourced), landscaper, waitress, emergency room doctor doing stitches and intubations (because even diagnoses, with video and a nurses aide assist might cover some aspects of the job)  live musicians, road crew workers, teachers (oops. they could be done on-line or with video teachers,) camerapersons operating cameras, construction workers (oops, construction's way down). You get the idea, sort of.

The US is no longer an economy that consumes things. Oh sure, we consume things, but the economy that the US depends upon being healthy does not derive much benefit from selling things made in China or Korea or Japan or Malaysia or Pakistan-- like iPhones and clothing and shoes and TVs and computers.

When consumption of imported goods goes up, it helps the big box stores-- Walmart, Target, Bestbuy, Lowes, Home Depot, except MAYBE the wood and plants in the big box "hardware" stores.

Consuming phone service doesn't help much. The big companies don't pay much taxes, if any.

It's time we re-evaluate the kind of economy we have. Do we still want and need an economy based on consumption and growth?  If we're going to consider that possibility, we need to think about the alternate options, if any.

I like to look to indigenous tribal culture to find alternative ways of doing things that we do today. This approach worked for about 30,000 years before civilization reared its head about 8,000 years ago.

There's no consumption-growth cycle with tribal culture. There's stability and balance based on sustainable living.

Sustainability. That's what we've been talking about for energy use-- transportation, for starters.

Perhaps what we need to look at is a domestic model that supports sustainability.
Perhaps we need to totally reassess where we find funds to pay for government, infrastructure and the assets and maintenance of the commons.

Or perhaps, we should reassess where we generate revenues. I love the web and make my living depending upon it. But maybe we should consider taxes on different uses of the web.

I buy something from Amazon and to do it I'm using bandwidth licensed from the US, a power grid that is supported by national infrastructure, oversight and planning, as well as state and local assets and resources. Maybe it's time to tax the use of the web.

Or maybe, we need to think about building-- building infrastructure, for new technologies, for easier travel and more energy efficient transportation-- rail systems, broadband for all. Building roads and facilities in national parks. Tourism is a major source of US revenues. Maybe we need to invest more to make the US even more attractive-- new national parks, new museums. Then there's education. The US has been very attractive as a place to go for education. I guess some of that can be outsourced. Universities can offer courses over the web. Maybe we need to set laws that require to get a US university degree, at least three years of the education must be acquired IN the physical United states.

Maybe we need to look at new ways to measure success in the US. Instead of looking growth in sales or production, look at growth in new, robust infrastructure, growth in businesses that create jobs-- not just growth in sales or gross receipts.

Maybe we need to tax companies based on the jobs they create-- give them breaks if they create jobs, tax them at higher rates if they generate profits without jobs.

We have to start thinking out of the box. It seems that the box we've been operating in is not even cardboard, and it's very fragile and shredding and no longer able to do the job it was conceived to do. That means we also need to find people to manage the economy who get that the old container is no longer working.

Any ideas? It seems the experts are all stuck in the box. It's going to take a bottom up, people's upwelling of ideas to get us out of this mess.

Rob Kall

Author's Bio:

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor . He is also published regularly on the

30 Years Ago Today: The Day the Middle Class Died

By Michael Moore

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, "When did this all begin, America's downward slide?" They say they've heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent's income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how "lowly" your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.

Young people have heard of this mythical time -- but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, "When did this all end?", I say, "It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981."

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to "go for it" -- to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they've succeeded.

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who'd defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only three unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?

Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started -- a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.

Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:

* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.

* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here's your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.

* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help -- or not.

* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can't leave now, we're not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.

* You want to go to college? No problem -- just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!

* What's "a raise"? Get back to work and shut up!

And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help:


The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that's just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers -- they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.

Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.

And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything -- and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn't accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.

And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The "masses" did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.

I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, "Give those controllers their jobs back or we're shutting the country down!"? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.

But we didn't do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we're now suffering with had its beginning in 1981 (here's a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).

It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?

Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party -- we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they've done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money -- or step aside.

When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street's plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?

Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?

A European Revival of Liberation Theology

by Ulrich Duchrow

What should Christianity be saying about global capitalism? The World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Lutheran World Federation have begun a significant exploration of that question.

It's a discussion I hope you will bring into the churches of North America. The conversation doesn't have to be limited to Christianity, either. What should Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism be saying about global capitalism? It's a debate to bring into your synagogues, mosques, ashrams, and schools of theology and divinity, and into local secular communities as well, since the issues bear on the entire human race and the survival of the planet. After you develop a perspective on capitalism within your own religious group, you can then -- as a community -- share your views in the international debate now taking place. The global religious community could play an important role in challenging the growing materialism and selfishness that have characterized the growth of a global capitalist worldview.

Not surprisingly, the process of creating a joint statement has sparked a rather striking debate among Christians about how explicitly we ought to challenge global capitalism. A group of us European theologians have put forward what we believe to be a rather strong statement of a Christian perspective -- one that goes much further than many of our fellow Christians in the Northern hemisphere would choose. The perspective we articulate in "Life in Just Peace," the joint statement reprinted below, better reflects the views of many Christians in the Southern hemisphere. To speak to some of the concerns that our visionary statement commonly raises among skeptics from the global North, I have constructed a response to an imagined criticism from a North American pastor (see page 78) that channels the type of energy and analysis more common among Christians from the global South.

Life in Just Peace

A joint statement by a group of twenty-six European initiatives and networks, including Kairos Europe, Pax Christi (German section), INKOTA, Christians for a Just Economic System, Pleading for an Ecumenical Future, Winds from the South, and several regional ecumenical grassroots networks, working together in the "German Ecumenical Network" in preparation for the May 2011 International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica.

Humanity and the earth are undergoing a unique crisis. Above all, this is manifested in the form of the financial and economic crisis, the food crisis, the social crisis (the growing gap between those who are becoming poorer and those becoming richer), the energy crisis, the climate crisis, the crisis of the extinction of species and the crisis of increasing violence at all levels -- from the family and schools to imperialist wars. The causes of these crises are clearly related to the dominant civilization, which from the "West" has conquered the entire globe in the areas of economics, politics, ideology, and the understanding of what it means to be human. This crisis is threatening life itself. As we see it, just peace must therefore be understood as leading toward a new culture of life at all levels -- from institutional to spiritual life.

The necessary turnaround toward a life in just peace includes at least three dimensions:

    A spiritual vision of a new, emerging culture of life, based on faith or a humanist motivation.
    The fundamental rejection of the dominant economic, political, violence-producing culture and world order, for the sake of the integrity of faith and the very being of the church.
    Short-, medium-, and long-term steps toward realizing this vision.

We therefore present the following declaration, which is based on the biblical message and affirms decisions by the assemblies of ecumenical organizations, inviting all churches, congregations, and Christians to embrace it and to publicly advocate for the implementation of its demands.

1. Which god shall rule?

We believe that God created the whole universe in love, inviting all people to cooperate with God's ongoing creative work in mutual solidarity and respect for God's gifts. "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it" (Ps. 24:1). With faith in God's Trinitarian dynamic we confess with all Christians the sociality of God as the source of the unity of all creatures.

Therefore, we reject the current world economic order imposed by global neoliberal capitalism -- using both structural and direct violence. We reject every claim to an economic, political, and military empire that attempts to subvert God's order of life and whose actions stand in contrast to God's love and justice. We reject an economic system and way of life that exploits nature and propagates unlimited growth so that the conditions of life for future generations are forcibly destroyed and the survival chances of the entire earth are threatened.

The power of God's Spirit frees us as individuals and churches to resist the ruling political-economic-cultural system and to work for crucially necessary alternatives.

2. God's good gifts for all should not be privatized by force.

We believe that God is a God of life and desires the fullness of life for all creatures. "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

Therefore we reject a policy that through the privatization of collective and common goods produces wealth for the capital owners but scarcity and poverty for the vast majority of the world's population -- the worst kind of violence (Gandhi) -- and which exploits and even destroys nature. With particular emphasis we reject the patenting of seeds and of medicines that are necessary to meet people's basic needs. We say no to the privatization of genes as well as acts of biopiracy; no to the privatization of water and other gifts of nature; no to the privatization of services of general interest such as energy, transportation, health, education; also no to the destruction of solidarity-based social insurance systems through privatization; no to their submission to profit-oriented insurance companies and at the same time to speculative finance markets. All of this is structural violence at the service of the rich. But especially we reject the direct violence of a policy that wages wars to realize these private interests and wastes immeasurable resources on armaments.

The power of God's Spirit frees us as individuals and churches to work for the democratizing of the economy and the solidarity-based social systems toward serving life, among ourselves and in society, so that all might have enough, so that neither hardship nor excessive consumption prevails and that the earth can remain intact for future generations. Economic systems should be for the common use and not for the expansion of capital. For this reason goods and services for basic needs as well as global common goods must be publically run for mutual benefit, so that in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights all governments recognize their responsibility for the welfare of their citizens. We pledge to struggle for an order at all levels, in which economics and politics are put at the service of life for all and thereby overcome the fundamental causes of violence.

3. God's good earth should not be destroyed by greed.

We believe that God entrusted human beings with a rich and beautiful earth. "The Lord took the human beings and put them in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it" (Gen. 2:15).

Therefore, we reject an economic and social order that converts God's gifts into commodities and in so doing increasingly destroys them. We especially call on Christians, congregations, and churches in the industrialized countries to recognize their enormous ecological debts, particularly their destructive climate debts, toward people who have been living in impoverished regions for the past five hundred years, and at least to offer symbolic compensation, to radically reduce their harmful greenhouse emissions, and to oblige their governments to pass national and international laws to keep global warming under two degrees and to stop the extermination of species.

The power of God's Spirit frees us as individuals and churches to set an example and reduce our consumption of energy and the environment as well as to force our governments to establish binding rules for reduction under international law (allowing for transitional arrangements for newly industrialized and developing countries). All in all, we will work for a cyclical economy that makes the gifts of nature available for just and sustainable use.

4. God liberates working people from violent exploitation.

We believe that God intends human labor to become participation in God's creative power and as a means for self-sufficiency in human societies, without exploiting working men and women. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other Gods before me" (Gen. 20:2).

Therefore, we reject an economic order in which working people, especially women, are (structurally or directly) violently exploited and driven into unemployment. We reject governments that tax workers more and more but levy less and less taxes on capital gains from profits and fortunes and refuse to abolish tax havens.

The power of God's Spirit frees us as individuals and churches to struggle in cooperation with labor unions for legal systems and economic decisions in which those able to work can find useful employment and socially meaningful jobs and --  owing to increased productivity -- comprehensive reduced working hours. In reaching these decisions, all of those involved in the productive process must have a voice.

5. God does not want any accumulation of wealth beyond that which is necessary for life.

We believe that God despises the accumulation of wealth for the few at the cost of the majority. "No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth" (Matt. 6:24). "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, nor ox nor donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exod. 20:17).

Therefore we reject an economic order that stimulates and rewards greed, which is dependent on nature-destroying and socially antagonistic growth, because it makes money and capital a commodity and its increase an end in itself.

The Spirit of God frees us as individuals and churches to overcome the violent power of money and especially its speculative misuse as a "financial weapon of mass destruction." We ourselves will only use money at the service of genuine economic activity. In concert with social movements we will struggle to induce political institutions to make money a national and international public good that only serves useful economic activity, and to ensure that all use of property becomes socially and ecologically beneficial to all.

6. God wants to create human security through justice rather than through military means.

"This is the word of the Lord to Zerubabbel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). "Until a spirit from on high is poured out upon us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness, and trust forever" (Isa. 32:15-17).

Therefore we say no to the institution of war, which -- under the conditions of present-day weapons technology -- cannot be justified under any circumstances; no to the more than 1 billion U.S. dollars wasted annually for armaments while more than 30 million people die from the causes of hunger. Arms do not murder only when they are used, but already while they are being produced. In particular we reject the imperialist wars, which stand in violation of international law, such as those against Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the unlimited "war on terror." Therefore we reject the presence of more than 800 U.S. military bases, under whose protection authoritarian and pseudo-democratic regimes such as those in the Philippines and Colombia commit notorious violations of human rights, and also the arming of the European Community with international rapid intervention forces. When the international community needs to intervene in individual countries and regions because of notorious violations of human rights, this must be done only by police forces under the umbrella of a democratized United Nations.

The power of God's Spirit frees us as individuals and churches to refuse to cooperate in any way with waging war. Instead, in the spirit of Jesus and Gandhi we wish to confront all injustice with readiness to accept conflicts and suffering, to cooperate in reconciliation processes therapeutically and in terms of prevention, and to contribute to a political stance that seeks to outlaw war.

7. Weapons of mass destruction are blasphemy against God.

We believe that weapons of mass destruction are blasphemy, since human beings are created in the image of God. "Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person's blood be shed; for in God's own image God made humankind" (Gen. 9:6).

Therefore, we reject unequivocally the production, deployment, and use of means of mass destruction, which always shed innocent human blood and can even eliminate all life on earth. We reject the strategies of the United States and NATO, which claim the right to a nuclear first strike and already are making use of enhanced munitions with disastrous effects for the people targeted.

The power of the Spirit of God frees us to refuse to collaborate under any circumstances in the production, deployment, or use of weapons of mass destruction or to vote for any political party that has not declared its support for the complete abolition of any means of mass destruction. We call on all members of Christian churches to do likewise. Especially we call on the government of the United States as well as on other governments to make deeds follow their words and to create a nuclear-free world. Only then can governments now working to achieve a nuclear capacity be prevented from realizing their plans.

8. God has created a people, which has invited all peoples to a life with a just peace.

We believe that God has called us to be a people that lives a life of justice and peace and can so become the light of the world, the city on the hill and salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-16). "Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that God may teach us God's ways and that we may walk in God's paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3-5, NRSV).

Therefore, we reject all misuse of the name of God and Christ for achieving power, be it by governments, political parties, groups, theologies, or churches. We especially reject prosperity theologies, fundamentalist crusade theologies, and ideologies that in the name of freedom increase the wealth of capital owners and even support the use of imperialist violence to this end.

The power of God's Spirit frees us as individuals and churches to follow Jesus and to participate in building God's domination-free kingdom, God's life-affirming order with a human face. This includes collaboration in developing

(1) a new economic approach based on solidarity and serving life;

(2) the practice of nonviolent behavior for conflict resolution and therapy, avoiding and reducing violence at all levels, from the family to a world peace order; and

(3) a style of life that promotes ecological and social justice.

We seek the company and cooperation of people of other faiths or of none, who respect and promote the lives of the most humble human beings and of the endangered earth. In the name of Jesus we ask God for the spiritual power to rejoice at the wonderful gifts of creation, to lead a life of justice and peace, and to work toward the day when this will be enjoyed by all people.

Why Liberation Theology Is Necessary for Us All

A Response to an Imagined Critic from North America

Peace be with you! I have received your letter from Minnesota raising important questions about our church endorsing and following up the decisions taken by the Assemblies of the Lutheran World Federation in Winnipeg in 2003 and of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Accra in 2004. I'm happy to be in dialogue with a pastor from North America. The passages you particularly challenge are:

    The Lutheran World Federation's Statement on Globalization in its 10th Assembly saying, "As a communion, we must engage the false ideology of neoliberal economic globalization by confronting, converting, and changing this reality and its effects. This false ideology is grounded on the assumption that the market, built on private property, unrestrained competition, and the centrality of contracts, is the absolute law governing human life, society, and the natural environment. This is idolatry and leads to the systematic exclusion of those who own no property, the destruction of cultural diversity, the dismantling of fragile democracies, and the destruction of the earth."
    The Accra Confession of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in 2004 stating, among other thing, "We believe that God is sovereign over all creation. ‘The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof' (Psalm 24.1). Therefore, we reject the current world economic order imposed by global neoliberal capitalism.... We reject any claim of economic, political, and military empire which subverts God's sovereignty over life and acts contrary to God's just rule."

Your first argument against the intent of these passages is:

    We have to be "realistic" and achieve something real, rather than utopian transformation. We weaken our ability and our "credibility" if we in the Christian progressive world use language that is anti-capitalist or that envisions global transformations, because the people with power in the political system, including people we believe really have goodness in their hearts and want to make whatever changes they think are possible, stop listening to us or taking us seriously when we talk in these broader terms or with what seems like the jargon of communist Russia -- socialism, anti-imperialism, or even anti-capitalism. So, though we know that you too have a good heart, we cannot publicly identify with you because you'll weaken our ability to accomplish what really can be accomplished, which is less than what we would want, but more than what the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, and your church can accomplish with your ideologically based language and political orientation.

Your argument would be correct if we were still in a situation like that after World War II. After the disaster of classical liberalism in the great recession in 1929 and the two world wars, it was possible to tame capitalism to a certain extent. The labor movement had some power because the Fordist economy needed the buying power of the people to buy the products of mass production, capitalism had to make compromises in order to cope with the competition of socialism dragging more and more countries into its camp, there were no limits to growth because the ecological problems were not yet seen, and it was still possible for the Western world to extract raw materials and other wealth from many colonies. The result was a kind of social contract between labor and capital in the form of what was called the New Deal in the United States and the Social Market Economy in Europe.

However, this situation gradually changed. What were the reasons?

At the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, John Maynard Keynes, the famous British economist, proposed institutions and policies that took the European social market economy as the model for the postwar global economy. The United States, however, having become the hegemonic power after the self-destruction of the Europeans, refused. It wanted both the dollar as the world currency and trade liberalization for its big companies. This opened up space for neoliberalism to rise in various ways. In order to regain ideological hegemony in the 1930s, liberal economists had already started a transnational network leading to the foundation of the Mont Pelerin Society under the leadership of Friedrich von Hayek. Through think tanks, university institutes, journals, etc., they started a long-term campaign for privatization, liberalization, and deregulation.

At the same time, the United States put dictators in power, mainly through intelligence instruments (the CIA) and local collaborators. (Remember that the first case was Iran, where the democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh was toppled because he wanted to nationalize oil. The Shah was installed by grace of the United States -- starting the tragedies of Iran that have lasted up to the present day.) The first task of the dictators was to open up their national markets to transnational capital in order to give it access to markets and resources for its own interest; the second was to crush all political and social resistance against this interference (resistance was crushed not only in Iran in 1953, but also in Congo in 1960, Brazil in 1964, Indonesia in 1965/1966, Chile in 1973, and Argentina in 1975). These dictators were also to contract national debts by buying Western products, thereby instigating the over-indebtedness of their countries. These foreign debts were used by Western-dominated, undemocratic institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, with the help of structural adjustment policies, to liberalize, privatize, and deregulate the economies and societies of these countries. In this way, the structural force of finance replaced direct military force. The result was massive impoverishment, expropriation of national resources, and increased violence among the people of these countries, now struggling bitterly for survival. Anyone who does not want to believe these facts should read the confessions of one of the "economic hit men," John Perkins, whose conscience did not allow him to continue working in this system and who, therefore, left his highly paid job in the hands of what he calls the economic Mafia (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: The Shocking Story of How America Really Took Over the World).

This development intensified after 1990, after the collapse of the competing system, state socialism (which in the same modern context as capitalism had in its own way concentrated political and economic power at the top and violated human rights): the neoliberal-capitalist model has now become globalized. Globally, mobile capital can play workers and governments of all countries against each other, leading to the dismantling of the welfare functions of the state and strengthening the security functions. The international aspect of this has been that the main military and political servants of capital empire -- the United States, the EU, and their allies -- are going back to methods of direct violence to steal and control resources in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, there is increasing social downgrading of more and more people, direct violent aggression, and destruction of nature around the earth. Human rights, originally formulated by the bourgeoisie, are increasingly being destroyed by global capitalism in the form of empire.

In this situation it is utopian and unrealistic to assume that some leaders with good hearts can save humanity and the earth from destruction. Finance capital is asking for maximum profits, at the moment up to 25 percent on the invested capital and even more -- a profit rate that no real economy can yield. That is why companies are forced to produce unemployment and to avoid all ecological care in order to save costs. Also all goods and services for the satisfaction of real needs are deteriorating in order to extract profit for capital. Politicians and media are being co-opted by both corruption and blackmailing, making democracy a farce. As capital by definition is the investment of money and other assets in order to create more capital, and as this is the driving force of the dominating economy, it is completely correct to call this system capitalism. And it is also correct to call the global political and military powers protecting this system imperialist.

As a pastor you know the Bible. Is it not the prophetic task of the people of God to name the powers, to unmask and engage them? But then the question arises: how to engage the powers and how to change the situation so that humanity and earth, God's creation, may live. If you look to the Bible for help, you can discover different strategies dependent on the context. If you look at the classical prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, they indeed try to change the situation of injustice by directly addressing the kings and the aristocracy. However, already in the case of the struggle for power after the deaths of Kings Manasseh and Amon (643-640 bce) the prophets join with the movement of the peasants who put the eight-year-old prince Josiah on the throne of David. Under his rule the faith in the liberating God of Israel and God's rules of solidarity for keeping freedom were restored, as you can read in the Torah's book of Deuteronomy. This situation can be regarded as an approximate analogy to the times of the New Deal and Social Market Economy. People had a common framework through which to address the elites.

However, by Hellenistic times the situation had changed completely. Particularly after the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV had taken power, he prohibited the worship of the God of Israel, YHWH, in the temple of Jerusalem, where he put a statue of Zeus. The economy was to be governed by the absolute rule of property, money, and slavery. No life according to the Torah was possible. In this situation there was no possibility of correcting the situation by speaking to the rulers. The Maccabeans took up arms for a liberation war and the Hasidim practiced passive resistance. A witness of this is the book of Daniel, the third chapter of which characterizes the situation by telling the parable of an emperor erecting a statue of gold and asking everybody to bow in front of it. All do so, except three Jewish men who are ready to suffer the consequences: martyrdom. So in this situation resistance against the absolutist system was the only way of following God and preparing for a future in dignity and faith for people.

The same can be seen in the Roman Empire. Many Judeans took up arms against the occupation forces, others tried to politically bargain; others engaged in passive resistance. One particular strategy was used by the Jesus movement. Building on the book of Daniel -- where in chapter seven the seer had envisaged the kingdom of God with a human face, overcoming the empires, characterized as wild beasts -- Jesus proclaimed and practiced God's coming kingdom as already happening among people. He liberated people from the demons of the oppressive powers of Rome and Mammon, the God of accumulating wealth, and built with them small cells living according to the life-giving Torah of solidarity. Thus he created leaven to penetrate the whole people, followed later by the apostle Paul building new communities of Jews and gentiles, living peacefully together in the whole oikumene of the Roman Empire. So in the midst of an absolutely exploitative and oppressive system, the realistic policy is to resist and develop concrete alternatives among the people.

But you have a second argument. You say:

    We have learned that large-scale changes have unintended consequences that can often be disastrous, and that they too often lead to the rise to power of people who care more about power than about healing the world. We've learned from Reinhold Niebuhr and other Christian theologians that it is really more in accord with the Gospel to frame our vision in ways that are not utopian.

Your point is well taken. You could see this tendency of perverting liberation into oppression already when the Maccabeans came to power. They quickly developed into normal Hellenistic potentates. Also when the Christians got to power with the help of the Roman emperor Constantine in the year 312, they applied violence against Jews, later also Muslims, witches, and whole peoples through colonialism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, from 1492 up to this day. Minority Christian groups who did not follow this path were accused of being heretics and persecuted, too. The only way to overcome this heritage is to learn from leaders like Gandhi. The key point here is that the means in the struggle for justice and peace have to mirror the end. If you want justice and peace, these have to be the guiding criteria on the way. This is why Gandhi claimed that the strategy to achieve these goals is satyagraha (holding fast to truth) and ahimsa (active nonviolent direct action). With these you do not tolerate injustice but confront the perpetrator (in his case the British Empire), forcing it to react. By reacting with increasingly open violence, it discredited itself, losing legitimacy. As no power can survive without legitimacy, more and more people joined the struggle, encouraged by the pioneers who had been risking their lives.

But, finally, you have a third argument:

    We also have learned from the Gospel that human beings were conceived in sin and have a strong tendency toward sin. For that very reason, we want to avoid giving any person or group of people the power to shape our lives. We know that human beings are so tempted to fall for their own egos, their own shadow side, and their own evil instincts that we cannot allow them to get the power to do that. By fighting for small incremental steps, we can be sure that each step is carefully measured and doesn't push human beings beyond their current capacities, and that provides us with much more safety than we could possibly get from large-scale changes.

In this argument I see two strands. The first one puzzles me. Are you not contradicting yourself? Is not the present situation exactly characterized by "giving persons and groups of people the power to shape our lives"? Is it not the owners of capital and their agents -- the bankers, the managers, the business consultants, etc. -- who determine the lives of the people and even the whole earth? Do they not determine the decisions of the governments? What about the lobbyists in the capitals of the States and Washington, D.C.? In Brussels, the headquarters of the EU, there are 15,000 of them, highly paid, while the poor majorities have no money to make their voice heard. Have they not indebted our public budgets to an incredible extent in order to take our democratically elected governments hostage and blackmail them for their own purposes, i.e., making money at the cost of people and earth?

In order to really make governments accountable, you have to democratize the economy. Therefore, social movements and faithful parts of the faith communities around the world are developing alternative ways of doing economy: people form cooperatives; they take over companies that have gone bankrupt from the neoliberal policies like in Argentina after the crash in 2001; they develop networks of solidarity economy and participatory communal budgets like in Brazil; they produce their own decentralized alternative energy (sun, wind, water, biomass) at the communal level like in Germany; they stop the privatization of public goods and services like water, energy, public transport, health, and education. In Uruguay, after the social movements had achieved the change to a socially oriented government five years ago, the first action of the new government was to write into the constitution "Water must never be privatized."

All of this and many more things show that there is a great cultural paradigm shift in the making. More and more people realize that the present way of life and economic system has no future. The population of the United States already has a lifestyle that needs six planets; the Europeans use up three planets. How long can that last? The crisis we are in is not just a financial crisis, but a deep crisis of modernity that builds on a presupposition, formulated by the philosopher Descartes in the seventeenth century: "Man is lord and owner of nature."

This touches upon the last part of your argument: Who is the human being? You say you are following the Gospel. But in reality you are following Thomas Hobbes, the seventeenth-century philosopher who first projected what he saw in the capitalist market economy onto the nature of the human being: everyone, being an atomistic individual, strives for more wealth, power, and reputation. The Bible has a different view. Humans are created as relational beings, men and women, in the image of God, blessed by God and called to be stewards of the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Indeed, sin is tempting them but they are called to control it (Gen. 4:7). God gives them rules about how to stay in the blessing and in freedom (Deuteronomy). And Jesus reinforces this reality by radiating the spirit of solidarity to make the beginnings of God's kingdom happen among people, to penetrate humanity like salt and light (Matt. 5). So pinning people down in the inescapability of sin is not in accordance with the Gospel.

Nor is it in line with the latest scientific findings. Brain research shows that human beings have so-called mirror neurons that enables them to feel empathy with other creatures and make them enjoy cooperation. Relational psychology tells us that from the original relationship between mother and baby onward we become (strong) selves only in relationships of mutual recognition. Even economic happiness research shows that, having reached a certain standard of living, people do not become happier by accumulating more and more money. Instead, people's happiness increases by living in good relations at all levels. The same is experienced in other faiths like Buddhism. Happiness is achieved by living with empathy.

Besides all this scientific and spiritual evidence, the overcoming of the Western modern ideology of possessive individualism and the war of all against all is a question of survival of humanity and the earth. If we continue to declare the Western model "realism," we will not only kill the earth but also commit suicide. Therefore, the Jewish-Christian central call, "Love your neighbor as yourself," must be translated differently (in the tradition of Buber and Levinas): "Love your neighbor -- he/she is yourself." Bishop Desmond Tutu says the same idea is expressed in the African philosophy of ubuntu: "I live only when you live." This, of course, has to be organized within participatory institutions of power control, starting from the local level. But the basis is to overcome the illusionary suicidal Western utopia of the limitless growth of the individual and to become realistic with the spiritual and wisdom traditions and sciences of humanity.

So, dear brother, join us in AGAPE -- the Greek word for love; it is taken up by a program of the World Council of Churches, but here AGAPE is translated as Alternative Globalization Addressing People and Earth.

Ulrich Duchrow is a professor of systematic theology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, specialized in ecumenical theology and theology-economy issues. He is also cofounder and moderator of Kairos Europa, an ecumenical network striving for economic justice.

An expanded version of this document, that includes a Statement of Reasons, is available on


Five-Fold Today Archives

The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

Issue Oriented Discussion Newsletter

Index | Search This Site | Aristide.Org | The Latter Rain | Babylon the Great | The Kingdom | The Nicolaitans | Jezebel
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost | The Grand Delusion | World Trade Org | Liberation Theology | Jay Atkinson | Alphabetical Index