11 April 2015

a nEw eCoNoMy...a nEw LifEsTyLe... iS tHeRe hOpE ?


"- You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.
 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. 
Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch?
 All this time and money wasted on fashion - do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop,
 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them...
 What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving...
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Many years ago, a group of people heard these words and not only they believe them, they also followed them and put them to practice in their lives...because they knew they were true... the one who spoke it, Jesus, lived accordingly to his own words and therefore he had authority in his words...After Jesus´s death and resurrection, his followers modeled what I think is the most impressive model of community...
this was during tough times, under a terrible and oppressive imperialistic dictatorship, the Roman Empire, where people could clearly and with good reason say they were living in a big and real "crisis"... they were persecuted to death and their lifestyle was forbidden by the Roman law... But still, they believed it was worth living this way, than under slavery and oppression of the system...
this is a bit of a report of how this amazing community was living...
" They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
Everyone around was in awe - all those wonders and signs done through the apostles!
They all lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common.
They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.
They followed a daily discipline of worship followed by meals at eachother´s home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw...
They were all united as one - one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine; you can't have it." They shared everything.
 And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person's need."
This was not something imposed like many political and religious ideologies, this was from the heart, a free choice from each individual, who knew each other well, had true love for each other like brothers and sisters, true compassion (not charity) for the other and  a real detachment from material things...
Wow...when was this lost ?! When and where is this preached  and lived among those who follow Jesus today? Maybe it wouldn´t attract many followers if it was preached more often...the same ones that seem to interpret the Scriptures so literally seem to skip this kind of text...
I´m generalizing here of course, I´m sure there are individuals who think this way but probably don´t have others to share the same... and also groups of monks and nuns, Franciscans, Buddhists, Sufis, Hindus,and even atheists who might live it...  
but in general, superficial religion, it´s hard to see... sadly we often see the opposite... the materialistic and over consumeristic lifestyle... 

I would like to live like this... 
It´s very interesting for me to notice that I´m having all this thoughts at the same time that I´m having lots of different ideas to provide financially for us 4 in the land, including our animals and plants :-)... and I do believe one thing doesn´t invalidate the other...they have to work together...

I´ve been struck so many times during this journey through southern Africa with the sad fact of seeing people drawn or enchanted by the capitalist (fallen) dream and materialistic lifestyle... I didn´t have a camera with me then, but I tried to capture it in this rough, not so good drawing... a traditionally dressed woman (at least that), coming out of the supermarket with her shopping bag and  a box on her head of a brand new microwave...in big letters on top it was written "essentials"... and that is the sad picture we can see today all over Africa... the same illusion that was spread all over the western countries...this was not even a city, it was a rural market town where we were the only "whites" (that still says a lot in South Africa unfortunately) ...

This has been a very recent phenomenon, maybe less than 10 years... it is very sad, and makes me think, and think and think about how can this be reversed... if it´s even possible... basic life skills are not passed on anymore to next generations, like building a house with local natural resources, find water and manage it properly, plant your food, hunting or herding sustainably and with respect for the animals...etc...Real ESSENTIALS for life...  all this is being lost... and very fast... this week some local kids were amazed with my sandals... and when I told them it was made of tire and they could make it themselves, they were even more amazed... I was shocked, and sad... because not long ago I would be the one amazed with their shoes and wanting to learn from them how to make them...

Anyway... I could keep going on and on about this subject, because it really disturbs me... 
I want to be part of a solution... and as much as I´m able, I want to model a life of simplicity and to work together with the ones I share life with to provide for our needs together, in a sustainable way, that doesn´t damage the earth nor takes advantage of other people somewhere else in the world... if possible I want to encourage others to do the same ...  because in Portugal too, and probably everywhere in the world, people are trapped in the same illusion...I´m sick and tired of hearing "There are no jobs" and the sad faces that follow... but I look around and there is fertile land, accessible, there is water, clay and stones to build, straw for the roofs... I just don´t get it ...people get trapped in the illusion that governments will fix your life, give you subsidies and retirement, and cities will provide you a good job and money for you to buy what you always wanted... anyway, I better stop here, this is getting longer than I expected...

I will just add some interesting numbers to think about...

- we need 40 Billion USD a Year to provide for UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO BASIC SERVICES (Education, Health, Nutrition, Reproductive health, Family Planning, Safe water and Sanitation)...
This is only 1% of the World´s income)

On the other hand, lets look at some other expenses:

- 35 Billion USD is spent every year on Business entertainment in Japan
- 50 Billion USD a year, in cigarettes in Europe
- 105 Billion USD a year, in alcoholic drinks in Europe
 and the most scandalous :

- 780 Billion USD a year, on military spends in the world. 


That means that one year without spending on the military would provide the basic needs for the whole humanity for 18 and a half Years

Wow... how can we go this far ?!!!
  
 


  

1 comment:

Emma Cowan said...

loved this Ba! thank you for sharing your thoughts. x