Forge Summit – The Sines and other thoughts.

No doubt one of the most significant things at the Summit 2 weeks ago was Tom and Christine Sine’s session. They spoke the language of simple living and downshifting. Their anti-consumerism message left me believing the direction my heart has been moving is not just a ‘Scott and Christine’ thing, but something that is stiring the hearts of people all over the world and not restricted to God’s Church. In fact, sadly I would say not even initiated by God’s Church. I say sadly because in so many ways the church has been lead by the world in past few decades. We used to lead the way in art, creativity, music, invention, social justice, education, medicine and so on, these days it seems we sit and wait to see what is happening and we interpret it through scripture, see if it fits, we make sure we can jump on with little or no fear of causing too much controversy lest some people decide we be ‘irrelevant and out of touch’ and not come to church, then we may jump on board!
I met with my mentor Keith Farmer today. He has had a few months to begin the first draft of his new book. He is kind of writing a Christian version of Clive Hamilton’s book – “AFFLUENZA” . An amazing book released this last month. Make sure you buy the Aussie one by Hammilton of the The Australia Institute. Keith’s book will look at the kind of issues begun by The Manifesto for Wellbeing. This is an amzing look at how some propose we can gain happiness and real satisfaction in life. It is incredible how from a non-Christian base this manifesto comes so close to looking like it was extracted from the pages of scripture. It challenges our ‘need’ for more, our lust for ‘stuff’ to make us happy and our endless pursute of bigness, business and longer working hours.
Keith, by the sounds of it, is taking the manifesto one step further by revealing the hidden Christ in all of this longing for simple living and downshifting and anti-consumer sentiment. He is showing that at the heart of it is a search for relationship, community and as such a search for the heart of God – relationship/community!
How about that! God is revealing himself through books found at Colins Bookstore! He is coming through research from places like The Australia Institute! God was speaking on Radio National this morning when some guy was saying we needed to lift our average wage, he had spoken to a cross section of people earning an average wage of $60 000 and 90% of them said they were struggling financially. A second man being interviewed chuckled (later I discovered this second voice was non other than Clive Hammilton, one of my heros and author of Affluenza), the interviewer asked the reason for the laughter.
Clive said to the other man, “you found that in people with a wage of $60k? I have just asked the same kind of question to people with an average wage of $100k, and guess what? More than 90% said the same thing, they were not satisfied and were struggling financially. You see, the ammount of money you earn has NO BEARING ON YOUR LEVEL OF HAPPINESS AND WELLBEING. When we learn to stop measuring our happiness by matterial measures we will be better off. No matter how much stuff you have and income you get, you will always need more if you live by the economic ‘rules’ of our consumer society”
The problem with all this is Clive never goes to Christ, the ultimate “downshifter”. This is where it sounds like Keith will in his new (first) book! I look foward to it.


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