Sunday, 27 March 2011

The new Imperialism

War is about protecting our self interest. It is about doing all that we can to ensure that no one else takes or has what we believe is ours or that we believe we should have control of. If someone or group threatens our security then we will invade and destroy. Even if this destruction involves the destruction of a nation that has only threatened us or we suspect has breed a threat against our security.

We put up barriers to protect personal gain and status. We export our economic, cultural, and political ideals, ignoring those of the nations that we export our ideals to. Economics has become the new imperial building force allied by the notion of democracy. Our status, security, and well-being guide our involvement in the lives of others.

Economics is about the protection of personal status. It focuses on doing all that we can to ensure that we are maintaining and improving our position as measured by financial indicators. Concern for others is secondary to our personal position and status.

As I think of a walk around Woodbrooke gardens, the former home of Cadbury family, I think of the mansion that the Cadbury family lived in compared to the Bournville cottages that they built for their workers. Yes, they cared for their workers but not in the sense of being equals. I believe this continues to be our struggle.

Shalom in contrast seeks wholeness for all. The self moves to the secondary position with the focus moving to ensuring all of creation enjoys the wholeness and peace of God's shalom. There is a willingness to satisfy the needs of others ahead to maintaining personal status or power. Limits on giving are based on personal ability rather than the resources available.

The real contrast is the creativity of self or nation or our ways rather than the centrality of all of creation. Shalom focuses on personal gain, security, and protection of resources.

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