27 November 2007

The Church of Stop Shopping

The name of an actual church run by Reverend Billy. He recently made a movie produced by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) called What Would Jesus Buy. You've got to see this dude. He is wild. Not your typical preacher-man. I would like to follow this man just because of the entertainment value. He was on Democracy Now last Wednesday and it was ENTERTAINING!! Homie would complete a sentence to Amy Goodman and say Amen. He called her sister Amy. He is hilarious.

But his message is good.

"We exorcise the cash registers, we drive the demon monoculture out of that cash register, sister Amy. You've got a billionaire at the top of that company and impoverished, as Charlie would tell you, impoverished coffee families at the bottom. We just ask that some of those dollars start blowing in the other direction. Amen."

He basically wants people to stop buying so much without thinking about their purchases. Especially at holiday time. I should have put this message out before Black Friday, but there is still time. His message is not just a message of stop buying, but also of buying local and supporting businesses that are being run out by places like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Target. Read the excerpt in the transcript of the interview from the men's clothing shop in Traer, Iowa. Sad. And avoidable if only Wal-Marts and malls would stop popping up all over the place.

What ever did happen to driving around your city to shop in a store rather than the one-stop shopping of the department stores and the Super Wal-marts? Morgan Spurlock put it this way: "I think there’s no better time than right now to start asking ourselves, where do our products come from? Why am I buying this? Is there a better way to shop and live? I am in full agreement with a lot of people who say there are some people that need to shop there, that make a choice because they have to, based on their income. Most of us choose to shop at places like this out of convenience more than anything else. I think we have to take that step back from rushing in to make a purchase somewhere just because it is cheap and easy and quick, and saying what does this purchase really mean? Who is affected? How is it affecting my life, my community, the world at large? Who made this product? We don’t do that enough." People just do not care any more. It is all about the quick fix. Finding the product fastest, getting the best deal, being able to get back down to your couch to watch the latest reality show on tv, or even being able to watch your favorite sports program while you shop from the comfort of your fatty recliner.

The site has some links to shops that support a cause, are fair trade, and are not connected to sweat shops like the crosses some churches are selling that are made in sweatshops in China. But hey, I guess it's all about the profit and the message, rather than the processes involved in the making of the symbols, right?

Rev. Billy goes around to different malls and Starbucks to try and share his message of the Shopocalypseto the masses. He even went to Disneyland on Christmas Day. As he and his choir belted out songs of the Shopocalypse the security followed him urging him to leave. This line they gave is classic -- "This is not like the United States on public land where you are free to … sing." Granted, I understand that most places you go to are technically private property -- such as the mall, and many stores you go into, but come on now. Why you kicking Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir out of Disneyland? The land of fun. You can see the people Main Street rocking it out with the choir. Main Street -- which Rev. Billy points out is more happening that most Main Streets you see in American cities, due in part to the expansion of so many fast-shopping stores.

Lots to not really have to think about. Just shop smarter. Or do like me and shop less. I don't do gifts except for the secret Santa I do with the siblings and soon to be sibling-in-law.

And if you do buy, you should also shop smart for the environment.

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