My learnings from the Economy of Life Consultation of the WCC
So much has been said about peace with justice, poverty and greed and ecological disaster and climate change. I have also reiterated again and again a radical declaration from Everett Leonor Mendoza – “The richest of the world must become poor so that the poor may live.” At the Economy of Life Consultation of the WCC, I came upon some very prophetic learnings and these were about ‘manna theology’ and ‘subsistence economy.’
‘ Manna’ is the food provided by Yahweh after the Hebrew People escaped slavery in Egypt. In the desert where people experienced hunger and vulnerability, God provide manna everyday. Everyday. The one regulation was to take only what they can eat for the day. Those who took more than what they needed for the day to ensure tomorrow’s supply, found what they hoarded foul-smelling and worm-infested the next day. Manna, which was God’s provision, is enough for everyone everyday. And to store more than what you need to live for the moment only yields decay.
‘Subsistence’ economy has been the practice of fishing, farming and gathering communities for centuries. Because of the prosperity theologies, people have equated blessing and fullness with material and monetary wealth. This cultivated cultures and ideologies of profit, competition and greed. God never called anyone to great wealth. Jesus always chose to take the side of the poor. All inequalities were to be transformed and we have all been called to love one another. In fact, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Subsistence economies is an alternative to the neo-liberal capitalism ideology which breeds greed, glorifies profit while denying life to the poor and laborers and destroying the Earth and it’s creatures.
Today, in the face of great poverty, ecological disasters and imperialism, we must transform our minds and actions to the ‘production of life’ and not the ‘production of profit.’ Manna theology and subsistence economies are commitments we can make as individuals, economies, churches, and communities. Perhaps this will create ripples that will dismantle imperialism and capitalism.