The society we live in today is based on consumer economy. The other part of the consumer equation is commodity. Everything is a commodity to be bought and sold – including labor, and by extension, human beings. It follows too, that commodities are scarce; what one has is never enough, and by extension, one could say, “I am not enough”.
These were some of the reflections offered by Peter Block and Walter Brueggermann when they opened the second session of the “Living an Economics of Compassion” series at the Cintas Center, Xavier University on October 21.
Undoubtedly, the consumer economy has not worked, particularly from spiritual and biblical perspectives. Greed and individualism prevail in today's society, rather than community and compassion. This raises the question: Is there an alternative to the consumer economy? Can we build a community of compassion economy and what are the obstacles?
This quest began in 2012 when St. John UCC in Newport, Ky; hosted a potluck meal and program to reflect on “working toward a more compassionate, just, inclusive and collaborative economy”.It was followed in January 2013 by a gathering at Christ Church Cathedral of more than 250 participants from various congregations and organizations for a dialog on the biblical vision for a local economics of compassion.
That gathering led to the formation of the Economics of Compassion Task Force to encourage dialog in congregations and to work locally toward a Cincinnati Economics of Compassion. Some of the ideas being considered therefore, include engaging more congregations and community groups in hosting dialog sessions, and creating a website and e-mail list for Cincinnati Economics of Compassion.
Here are the questions for reflection that followed the three scriptural readings during the session at Cintas Center:
From a reading of Jeremiah 29:7, 10-11: “What is the hope you have for the economy of our community and region?”
From Luke 4:16-19: “How can inclusive fellowship create good news in our lives, in our community, and economy?”
From Qur’an (5:48): “How have I recently become more aware of a local economics of compassion?”