Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live faithfully...in the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Advent Conspiracy, I found you too late

It was only after Christmas was over that I had the time to cruise the web a bit, and in doing so was led to the Advent Conspiracy web site, devoted to finding alternative ways of celebrating Christmas that challenge the status quo of trying to buy more stuff this year than last for 'the good of the economy'. A few months ago, I recommended reading Bill McKibben's book, "Deep Economy" as a means of challenging the notion that unrestricted economic growth among the developed world is our only assurance of financial well being and security moving forward. The thesis of this 'conventional wisdom' approach to things is wrong at many levels, but we'll begin by noting both the environmental cost and the fairy tale notion that this unlimited growth curve is feasible.

Environmentally, it's becoming clearer and clearer that the mounds of stuff we consume, and the tankers of petroleum we use to haul it all over creation is taking its toll on our resilient planet. Even if you dismiss the notion of global warming as fairy tale science for some reason, you still need to face the fact that the growing appetites for oil in India and China are already making it more challenging here to proceed with the status quo levels of consumption. But even if it were possible to proceed for a while, the limited supply of petroleum (who cares if the limit is 20, 30 or 100 years? Stewardship demands that we deal with reality of the finite nature of this resource) should make it clear that we can't proceed on this same road forever. Are there healthier alternatives? I think so.

And then there's the matter of economics. Now that housing prices are falling and the free and easy access to unlimited credit is drying up, we come to discover the dirty little secret that a huge amount of the consumer spending that's been fueling economic growth in America has come because people have been spending the equity in their houses. I'm no economist, but I'm skeptical that this might not be a sustainable pattern either, and to perhaps the time is ripe to consider some alternative, simpler ways of living and finding meaning in our lives.

This is why I appreciated discovering the Advent Conspiracy. Here was an invitation to consider alternatives, live into them, and discover that the alternatives to our prevailing models of consumption can actually be more peaceful, meaningful, redemptive, and joy filled, than what conventional wisdom offers. Next year I'm in, and I hope that our church will be in too!

Finally, if you'll check the links on the side-bar, I've added a few for your interest. Living Water International is a project I've taken some interest in because it's such a crime that so many millions in our world are living lives of illiteracy, disease, poverty, and high incidence of child mortality simply because something as mundane as drinking water is unavailable. There's also a link to the Aidan Way, because in the interest of sustainable faith, our church will be spending some energy in the coming year focusing collectively on the spiritual disciplines and the development of a rule of life. I hope and pray that you'll find the material there encouraging.
I pray that 2008 will find each of us diligent in our pursuit of Christ, so that the adventure, joy, hope, and love that He desires to express through us will find it's way into our hearts, and then out again in the unique expressions of service and generosity, simplicity and humility, that are each of us and each of our communities. Thanks so much for joining me in the journey over the past year. If you'll continue to read, I'll continue to write in 2008 - as long as I have strength and time.

Happy New Year

3 Comments:

At 30/12/07 22:06, Blogger Matt Wenman said...

Thanks Pastor Dahlstrom!
PLEASE Keep writing! I (and many others I know) will continue to read...
Advent Conspiracy is great.... let's do it! Bethany should TOTALLY go in on this next year, I too wish we would have found it before Christmas. These things have been on my mind but often it feels like something is pulling you, and you're almost forced to conform to "what everyone else does" including family, close friends, and those we celebrate with and spend time with on Christmas...

 
At 31/12/07 13:45, Anonymous Andrew M said...

You mentioned Living Water International being of interest to you lately. Would a missions trip with Living Water be something Bethany could organize? If so we may be interested in joining.

 
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