Tim Gorringe’s talk & workshop at CEL’s Conference, Treasure in the Field
Christian Ecology Link’s 2012 Annual Conference was held on 10 March 2012 at Stoke Gifford, Bristol, on the theme: Treasure in the field: spiritual capital and sustainable livingJonathan Porritt gave the Keynote Talk and Prof Tim Gorringe, Professor of Theological Studies at Exeter University, responded
In the afternoon Prof Gorringe ran a workshop (twice) as part of the six workshops offered to participants.
Ellen Teague introduced him in the morning session explaining that he had been up before six o’clock in the morning lambing – and would be returning to lambing in the evening.
Here are some notes made by one of the particpants, David Miller of Milton Keynes Christian Ecology Group. (Proviso:- he says”these really are just notes, and I may not have got everything down accurately, or how he intended!)
Response in the morning:
See Leviticus 25:32 onwards
The idea of defining everything as capital isn’t right – stuff is given to us and we are leaseholders.
Is spirituality what Christians bring to the party? No, not really – we bring an understanding that all reality is caught up in the divine, ie everything is spiritual.
Re-distribution is at the heart of the Leviticus passage. The Temple was a mechanism for re-distributing wealth. Jesus was angry not because the Temple was being used for business purposes, but because it had lost its re-distributive goal.
The workshop on economics
The traditional view of helping the poor is that you grow the size of the cake then everyone benefits. That way there’s not so much need to bother with re-distribution.
….Inequality has got worse in the UK for the last 40+ years (it reached a low in 1962 and increased rapidly in the late eighties) and is now as bad as at any time since 1854. (Two links added by CEL Editor 1 – 2)
A sustainable economy – not the same as a just economy, though the two are related. Growth in recent years has been achieved by mortgaging the future. There is a risk that what has happened to Greece could happen in the UK in 5-10 years time.
Sustainability involves maintaining aquifers, the condition of the soil, and stabilising global temperature/climate.
A biblical vision of the economy – every human family has a stake in, and a claim on, the means of production.
There are two types of democracy – participative and representational. The latter is what we have; the Transition movement says we need to rediscover the former. Their model starts by recreating this in a locality; creating a groundswell of opinion.
Note that going back a few centuries in history we were subjects, then in 1789 becamecitizens, then in the supermarket era have become consumers.
Book recommendation: Change the World without Taking Power by John Holloway.
Where does the church fit into all this? It is counter-cultural. God cares for the whole household and society.
Reading the scriptures will make us want to be on the side of changing society.
Microfinancing is an example of something which is working.
See the Christian Council for Monetary Justice – http://www.ccmj.org/index.htm
Note that Occupy London didn’t have a single view on what they wanted.
There are some ideas on different ways of doing things emerging from South America.