Blessed Are the Consumers
Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint
Publication Year: 2013
In this timely book, Sallie McFague recalls her readers to the practices of restraint. In a world bent on consumption it is imperative that people of religious faith realize the significant role they play in advocating for the earth, and a more humane life for all.
The root of restraint, she argues, rests in the ancient Christian notion of Kenosis, or self-emptying.
By introducing Kenosis through the life stories of John Woolman, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day, McFague brings a powerful theological concept to bear in a winsome and readable way.
For decades, Sallie McFague has lent her voice and her theological imagination to addressing and advocating for the most important issues of our time. In doing so, she has influenced an entire generation, and empowered countless people in their efforts to put religion in the service of meeting human needs in difficult times.
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Preface: Religion, Ecology, and Economics
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Over the years, when people have asked me what I do, and when I have answered that I am a theologian who investigates the connections of religion with economics and ecology, they often give me a funny look. What does “religion” have to do with financial and environmental matters? ...
1. ``But Enough about Me'': What Does Augustine's Confessions Have to Do with Facebook?
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In a New Yorker essay titled “But Enough About Me: What Does the Popularity of Memoirs Tell Us about Ourselves?” Daniel Mendelsohn notes that our culture is inundated with “unseemly self-exposures,” in a rich variety of forms: reality TV, addiction and recovery memoirs, Facebook, tales of sexual and physical abuse by parents, and so on. ...
2. ``Where Are We?'': Living Well on Planet Earth
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In Annie Dillard’s reminder that we are just set down on the earth and no one knows why, she continues her reflection by making an intriguing suggestion: we could “explore the neighborhood . . . to discover where it is that we have been so startlingly set down, even if we can’t learn why.”1 ...
3. The Lives of the Saints: John Woolman, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day
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Michel de Certeau, a postmodern commentator on sainthood, notes what he calls “the Franciscan dream”—“that a body might preach without speaking, and that in walking around, it might make visible what lives within.”1 Such integration is beyond our imagination—to actually live, to be, to embody what one believes. ...
4. The Practice of the Saints 1: Voluntary Poverty in Order to Pay Attention to the Material Needs of Others
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We turn now to an analysis of our saints, looking at the four steps that emerge from the reflections on their life journeys: the wild space of voluntary poverty, attentiveness to the material needs of others, the development of a universal self, and its application at personal and public levels. ...
5. The Practice of the Saints 2: The Development of the Universal Self at Local and Global Levels
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The process by which our saints prepare themselves to act with love for others’ most basic needs involves varying degrees of self-emptying—relinquishing material and emotional possessions (voluntary poverty) and diverting attention from the self to others. Weil called this process decreation; ...
6. ``It's Not About You'': Kenosis as a Way to Live
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When we turn from the stories of some remarkable people—in fact, saintly people—to their relevance for our own life and times, we are in for a culture shock. The world that greets us scarcely appreciates or even understands the meaning of the words restraint, self-sacrifice, give-and-take, limitation, and so forth. ...
7. Kenotic Theology
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Having looked at the uses of kenosis in fields ranging from biology to the arts and parenting, as well as its widespread importance in religion, we turn now to an in-depth study of kenosis in one tradition, the Christian. This is meant to be illustrative—spelling out the implications of kenosis in one religion in order to highlight some characteristics of its depth and breadth. ...
8. What Next?: Living the Kenotic Life Personally, Professionally, and Publicly
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What next, indeed? It is a sobering question, and not one easily answered. As I ponder it, however, a few words surface with irrepressible insistence: food, body, the world as my body, universal self, death and rebirth. Gradually, this project on kenosis and climate change is emerging not just as a program for ecological living on the planet, but for living, period. ...
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013