PLENTY MISSION by Richard Nelson ©All rights reserved March 2014
gathering, as we are called by Jesus, in service to the whole of life
This message is written in the context of a broad consultation invited by Peter Challen, Cannon of the Anglican Church, and I thank Peter for including me in a review that seeks to assess 50 years of activism in the field of Monetary Justice. To Peter and his worldwide team of collaborators, I say congratulations for your sustained 50 years of hard work. I so appreciate you steady, life long service - Peter, you are a man of faith who cares for people and planet. As you seek to clarify the focus of the CCMJ (Christian Council for Monetary Justice) as a continuing Christian mission for justice in the world, I would like to refer to Luke 4: 17-21 for a clear purpose in our world today: for the poor, the prisoner, the blind - that they be uplifted, freed, and recover sight, which I believe means the restoration of a vision for life that is not premised on a person's subjugation by the world.
17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus, as friend, is the servant to all, and in a just world, no person can or would even desire to lord-over another. Let Christians focus on the imperative that, in the Christian community, with Jesus as our exemplar, we must live to this standard of service to the whole of life. We who are freed by Jesus have our freedom by grace that cannot be revoked by the kings, the inequity of the monetary system or by the force of law that exploits and oppresses. But, we enable the worldly powers when Christians have "blind faith" in an education, not of the Holy Spirit, that has been designed for oppression and now, in these “last days”, reaches new levels of emotional distress and confusion of the mind. In the world we are all living as traumatized victims who fear to challenge our masters, but the Master's voice calls to release us from the chains that we ourselves have forged. The Spirit speaks directly to our heart to open our blind eyes to the truth, to illuminate the way out to freedom and to live a life of abundance. My entire life I have fled from the untruths of men and cultivated my inner truth, which has helped to sustain my gift for invention. I have made an effort to not have my vision polluted by the limitations of those who are shut out (because of unbelief) from the grace of God.
The above is the biblical foundation for my response to the issues of monetary justice, including the three suggested focus areas of the CCMJ. Of these, “societal or universal principles that inter-weave...” the PLENTY MISSION is most closely related to: Means for a basic standard of living to be available for all citizens
Since you know something of my life's work, you would likely anticipate this to be my recommendation for a continuing and sustained CCMJ program of action. This is due to the fact that this objective can be mobilized as a constructive and practical plan of direct action, a "good news to the poor", while the other two are focused on changing top level systems. Your own background notes comment that the most important thing we have learned in 50 years of battling for change is that the "system" is extremely resistant to top-down, prescriptive (we know how to do better) approach. At the best only the actors and/or the script is altered but the system itself is unaffected. We do not need a new “doctor's prescription” to treat the ills of the world; we need to change the fundamentals so that we restore wellness and claim a new relationship to Creation. Incremental improvement is insufficient; there is an imperative to co-create a new world - a regenerated earth - which is our prayer: "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". We need the Holy Spirit to sweep away unbelief and know (Ephesians 3:20-21) that our Lord "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us". Witnessing "to all generations" that we are able to be builders of the heavenly Kingdom; with certitude that the new WE never can slide back to the old worldly kingdom.
My heart tells me that we stand at the tipping-point, making a choice between a heavenly or worldly future; ultimately a decision between life and death. The challenge is to overcome doubt that we are able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" - and the challenge is not that one or some, but all are thereby released from poverty, freed from prison, restored of sight and vision. Can the works of a few, gathering in Jesus name, have the power to change everything for everyone? As Jesus claimed this prophesy "the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him". Now in our day, will the eyes of the world witness all released from poverty and freed, with restored vision: [Galatians 5:1] “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." This is transformation "above all that we ask or think"; and a full pardon from our imprisonment (of body, mind and spirit) - a full release from the chains of poverty.
I want to go beyond words to provoke action by sharing with the community of Christians a vision for the works that I consider imperative. Not works of "structural changes" to the systems and domains of science, law, economics, social and political order. Yes, there are scenarios for making situations better with social justice and equity campaigns and much is possible to alleviate suffering, however this is working within a broken system, not going beyond it.
Look at this promise: Christ in us "is able to do [all things] according to the power that works in us" - when our eyes, hearts and minds are open to the gifts and talents of the Holy Spirit - then the powers in us rise above the works of man - WE, together, gathering in communion with the Source, are able to banish scarcity, and by grace we are freed from the “yoke of slavery”. Nature, as God’s Creation has no limitations while the man-made world is defined by boundaries and finite thinking, with "limits to growth" and with dependency on non-renewable resources, the world is finally bankrupt and exhausted. Born again in the Christ spirit - a new humanity knows that none are higher or lower but all are one - without separateness - like Jesus, the Christian is ready to give our life to do our best for the sake of one another. A great, global Pentecost is our Kingdom come; is the beginning of our restored relationship with both Creator and Creation that answers each and every problem that is plaguing humanity and troubling the earth.
Who is unhappy with this collective victory-of-the-people where no person is higher or lower than the other? Clearly the few who lord over the people and planet for profit are not letting go without a fight. These few exploiters, for who's excessive accumulation we slave, across a great and widening gap of poverty, command and control our subjugation and suffering under the law. Power and celebrity of the few requires our conditioning to see refinement and greatness where, if our eyes were open we would truly see depravity, corruption and abuse of the power over Creation that gone so far as to become a contest with God's will, that ultimately must fail.
Because I would like to abbreviate this message, I would ask the reader to please refer at this point to my companion White Paper "closing the hunger gap" which speaks directly to the Christian community, and more widely, to people of Faith and all those who love life and care for the earth. The 50 year assessment by Peter Challen is that we are not winning the battle to “change the system”; my response is a call not for a campaign for State sponsored welfare but is a cry for Biblical prophesy to be fulfilled (Luke 4: 17-21). How? By: the restoration of our sight we walk out of the prison and find the way to freedom; and having attained freedom in Christ we throw off the yoke of poverty/slavery and find our true life of “exceeding abundance beyond what we may ask or think”.
Lets be clear that the poverty that claims the lives of the vast majority of humanity is a prison created intentionally and the walls of poverty will not fall to our cries of protest or acts of anger or revolt. Isolated actions, even if heroic have limited impact on the systematic marginalization of people that consign people to hopeless poverty. The poverty gap widens and the desperation of people lost into poverty is compounded by exhaustion of their lands and natural resources. By conflict, decree, development or “joblessness” people are made homeless, original peoples are dispossessed of their traditional life, or working people may see their livelihood disappear due to technology and economic disruptions. Waters and lands have been wantonly exploited and polluted in a competition in which the powerful and wealthy can never extract enough. As consumers, our synthetic and factory food weakens and debilitates our bodies and mind, while killing our spirit and preoccupying the burgeoning population with illness. The people have long been shut out from knowing of the abundance of Nature and we are consigned to a role of competition for status as urban consumers thereby driving the planet to a terminal stage of exhaustion.
At this tipping point, we as a Christian community may, by our exemplar action, make a difference - but only if we stop engaging with the worldly exploitation of nature and seek a healing reconnection with God's Creation. It is imperative that we seek more than a "basic job" because when “livelihood” is reduced to such, then it is no more than economic slavery. Human life and dignity demands more than an allotment of labour or servitude in the world, with no security or peace. The life that meets our Lord’s promises is more than sustainable - that true LIFE is full, joyful, complete and thriving from generation to generation without end. Freedom from poverty for all is now doable because everyone, everywhere can be enabled to access a new relationship with the whole of life that has synergy with Nature, thereby revealing new harmony and peace (more than “do no harm”) and a “power-with” that generates an experience of overflowing abundance in our lives. Act on your heart felt response to this PLENTY MISSION - bring your best and contribute your all to BUILD this new life of liberty for which Christ has set us free.
The time has arrived when from our own experience we may know that the freedom and dignity we can now claim is not a hollow dream or wishful thinking. WE who are the pioneers, are freed by a new vision to co-create: a small and beautiful space in which to live and grow; a dwelling place that is fully empowered to uplift and dignify the lives of people everywhere. People and families will find rest at home in sun energized dwellings that provide plenty of Food/Energy/Water - the FEW essentials for the health and wellbeing of people and for the healing and recovery of earth ecosystems. With the action of a few pioneers as the catalyst, there will be a revelation of a way to regeneratively sustain a quality of life that, in our long imposed isolation from nature has been lost to memory - finding, by grace of restored sight, that we are able and free to bring an end to hunger and poverty. By the choice that we make now “to be the change” the new WE may, I pray, avert a spiral of crisis and save ourselves from probable extinction.
(For info about the action plan to BUILD the future of abundance for all, please refer to to the POD WORKS GLOBAL website for key documents available for download)