Happy Buy Nothing Day!

Have you heard of this holiday? This is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I have been participating in it over the last few years. You can participate in various ways. One way is to sit around at home and listen to black metal (okay maybe you don’t have to listen to black metal, that’s just what I decided to do!). Another way to participate is join one of the meetups in 384 cities around the world!

Here is a resourceful link

I know in Philadelphia people get really creative. A few years ago people got together and held a circus downtown. People urged people to cut up credit cards and refuse to buy something that day, even cut back on what they were planning to spend for the day.

here is a video which features Shane Claiborne dressed up like a clown on stilts:

As Shane says, “We need to take care of each other. Those companies don’t need anymore of our money”. Many people believe that we can save our economy through our own spending. This is a sort of backwards philosophy that isn’t aligned with the economic principles of God’s Kingdom.

In the Hebrew scriptures, God calls for economic renewal every 7th year. This is known as a Sabbath year with the purpose of taking care of those who are poor or in need and letting the land heal itself.

10 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

Exodus 23: 10-12

The Sabbath was established in order to take care of those who are needy and to let our bodies and the land rest. Are we practicing Sabbath. If we do choose to rest one day of the week, are we doing it for the right reasons? Remember that Jesus said:

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2:27

The Sabbath day and year seems outlandish today. How could this be practiced. As outlandish as the Sabbath year sounds, God asked us to take it even further with the Jubilee:

8 “‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.13 “‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.

14 “‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. 15 You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. 16 When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops. 17 Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God.

18 “‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19 Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. 20 You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” 21 I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. 22While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.

23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. 24 Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

Leviticus 25:8-23

I encourage you to read on through verse 55 for more instruction on Jubilee. God clearly lays out a plan for his people with the concept of Jubilee that is intended to eradicate oppression every 50 years. After the 50th year cycle, everyone starts over. This is absolutely profound when you look at today’s culture, but we must understand that indigenous people have been practicing this style of economics for thousands (or millions) of years. God calls us to practice what Ched Myers calls Sabbath Economics. I encourage you to read his short book:

or watch him speak on the subject:

I believe that God calls us away from our American consumerist culture. God has a greater plan for us that involves sharing with our brothers and sisters, letting our land heal every once in a while, living together in community, and eliminating accumulation of wealth. How can we challenge the American view? What can we do to work towards the Kingdom of God?

We can start by buying nothing on Black Friday!