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Part Three: Connect

Hold HandsApart from the Holy Spirit, the greatest resource we have when it comes to living differently is each other. Consumerism sees us as individual shopping units, totally absorbed in our own choices and happiness. Connecting with other people reminds us that there’s a wider world out there…

 

1. INVEST IN PEOPLE

The best things in life are not things. God is a person, and he made us for relationship. How easily we let relationships get squeezed out of our lives, though. We need to make time to invest in the people God has put around us.  Time to really connect. Time for phone calls, walks, and storytelling. Time to wash up together, to listen, to laugh. Time for hospitality and feasting.

ACTION: FEAST

Throw a feast…oh yes!

 

2. SHARE

When we share something, we don’t divide it; we multiply it. Instead of just blessing one person, whatever it is (a car, a lawnmower, a CD, a house, a packet of wine gums, etc) now blesses two people, or more. Sharing bonds us to the person we share with. More often than not it’s fun, too. Learning to give and to receive gifts is basic training for life in God’s kingdom (Luke 6:38).  Sharing prevents waste, breaks down barriers and frees up money to invest in God’s Kingdom. Of course, if sharing sounds like too much hassle, you can just give stuff away. Pop down to the local charity shop, or give a friend (or stranger) the surprise of their life!   

ACTION: GIVE SOMETHING AWAY

Give something valuable to a friend or stranger.

 

3. LIVE LOCALLY

It’s tempting to see the place we live as a private palace or a dormitory to sleep in until work or leisure takes us elsewhere. But neighbours have always mattered to God, and so have places. Your local community needs good relationships like a plant needs soil. What can you do to strengthen the bonds where you live?    

ACTION: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR

  • Shop locally
  • Have your neighbours round for dinner
  • Get to know your local shopkeepers, librarians, postal workers, refuse collectors, police…

 

4. BREAK THE TABOO

You’re the consumer. You’re the boss. You can buy what you want. It’s no one else’s business. Those are the lies our society lives and believes. But to be truly radical is to share your life with others. In fact, the only way we’ll make real progress on this journey is with the aid of others to inspire and challenge us (this is what Breathe is all about).

ACTION: SWAP BUDGETS

Let a friend or two see your budget / bank statements and pass comment.  You’ll all need to exercise plenty of grace, but you’ll learn a lot about how God sees your finances!

 

5. BEYOND CHARITY

True giving goes beyond wristbands, standing orders and one-off Sunday services. True giving creates a deep bond, like the one between Paul and the Philippians, full of warmth, mutual understanding and sacrifice (Philippians 1:3-11, 2:17-30, 4:14-23). How can you develop this deeper bond with those you give to?

ACTION: GO DEEPER – Why not try…?

  • Ways of helping that connect more deeply with others (e.g., child sponsorship or local community – see www.besom.com)
  • Focus in on one or two charities, rather than a wide set.  Become not an amateur donor, but an expert supporter – informed, prayerful and encouraging

Part Four 

Connect Quotes

In tackling materialism, there is no way in which this can be addressed by individuals. To live a lifestyle contrary to that of all around is psychologically very difficult for a person on their own. Resistance requires the power and support of a group, who are putting themselves on the line in solidarity. Only in a group can we begin to hear and respond to the searching words of Jesus on possessions and how they affect us

Mike Riddell

 

Jesus did not say to the rich young man, ‘become destitute and friendless’; he invited him to join a community of sharing and love…in that kind of community there would be genuine economic security

Ronald Sider

 

Rather than seeing themselves as individuals who happened to be Christians, the earliest Christians regarded themselves in the first place as members of the body of Christ

Brian Rosner

 

The New Testament authors are not concerned merely with how individuals might seek eternal life; rather they are concerned with how the church as a whole might embody the economics of the kingdom of God

Richard B Hays

 

The church is called to be a sign, a foretaste, a herald of God’s present but still emerging kingdom…But because this…kingdom is a certain kind of kingdom, the church is called to be a certain kind of people. Not just any kind of community will do

Philip Kenneson and James Street

Part Four

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