i am busy reading a book called ‘The Prophetic Imagination’ for my Leadership in Urban Transformation studies course and this passage jumped out at me:

‘The prophet is the one, who, by use of these tools of hope, contradicts the presumed world of the kings, showing both that that presumed world does not square with the facts and that we have been taught a lie and have believed it because the people with the hardware and the printing press told us it was that way.’ [Walter Brueggemann in his book, The Prophetic Imagination]

# the lie of ‘there’s always been capitalism and that is the way it has to be’ – yes, until it isn’t. How backward and delinquent are we if we can’t dream and imagine and then create and build a system that looks after everyone and not just the few elite at the top, who got there for a myriad of reasons?

# i have often had people respond to my salary-challenging ideas and pseudo-socialism leaning imaginations with the retort ‘people need to know that they are getting a bonus if they work/they are working for something – if there is no reward people will not work’ – what that assumes is selfishness and greed as the motivators and let’s be honest, probably does that accurately. But it gives in to the believed lie that selfishness and greed are the only motivators we have.

Think about this:

– You have a family member in trouble – typically you don’t ask if they deserve it or if they’ve worked hard enough – you jump in and make a plan, because family.

– you have a good friend who is in need – typically you won’t scrutinise their work effort and productivity – you will jump in and help them out, because friendship

– many people will jump in and help out an animal in trouble regardless of whether the animal has any kind of connection to them in terms of being their pet or family animal, because animal people

– many people will volunteer or donate money to underprivileged, disabled, homeless, marginalised without any connection or relationship to them because humanity, decency, empathy, compassion.

So the lie is held up to the light in many instances and found wanting – it is not true for all #NotAllPeopleAreSelfishGreedyDouches – and the key would seem to be how then can we get everyone caring for the other when it is not a family member, close friend, animal or person with a special need? The jump doesn’t seem so far when viewed like that.

This thing is possible because it’s already happening but the scale is just way off.

If we wanted to put a universal law to it, one could say this would all be completely solvable if only we could ‘Love our neighbour as we loved ourself’ [One of the reasons i am a Jesus follower because THAT and not too much else is the essence of following Jesus]

So back to Brueggemann, how do we get people to stop believing the lie that ‘this is how it has to be’?

My friend Trevor Ruddock Black has some Universal Income ideas which seem quite revolutionary and exciting:

Thoughts on a Community Wealth Fund

A look at Building a Community

The idea and challenge of a Universal Basic Income

My wife Valerie Duffield Anderson at Common Change has a great model of creative giving that helps small groups of people pool resources and wisdom and networks to start on a small scale to enact this kind of thinking out through already established relationships.

Brueggemann continues:

‘The task of prophetic imagination and ministry is to bring to public expression those very hopes and yearnings that have been denied so long and suppressed so deeply that we no longer know they are there. 

Hope, on the one hand, is an absurdity too embarrassing to speak about, for it flies in the face of all those claims we have been told are facts. Hope is the refusal to accept the reading of reality which is the majority opinion, and one does that only at great political and existential risk.’ 

What other ideas and programmes and organisations are you aware of who are making small steps in helping people who are tired of ‘the few have the most, the majority fight over the scraps’ mentality and are dreaming and working towards a better way?