This Great Idea was inspired by the coalescence of the numerous resources mentioned in it, all arriving in The Ministry Lab’s inbox within 24 hours of one another!

Lead your congregation in re-imagining themselves, your community, and the world with engaging reading, listening, study, discussion and community engagement:

First, read together Rev. Dr. Cameron Trimble’s Word for the Day from Wednesday, February 24: A Better Economy for a More Just World.

Find support for further study by listening to Walter Brueggemann’s 18-minute keynote address at Neighborhood Economics Cincinnati.

Dig into the Biblical texts referenced by Trimble and Brueggemann; take a fresh look at stories that many participants may feel they already know.

Exodus 1:8-14 – the beginning of oppression lies in material gain and jealous clinging to power; the fear of the “other”

Exodus 5:1-23 – the loss of personal or communal agency; turning people within the oppressed community against one another; disempowerment followed by shaming; reifying the “rights” of the oppressor by claiming the oppression is sanctioned by the Divine (vs. 22-23)

Exodus 18 – God drew the people of Israel out of Egypt not only to rescue them from oppression, but to fashion a new people who live in a new way; Brueggemann (and pretty much everyone else) cites the 10 Commandments as this transformational force. However, biblically speaking, it is Jethro’s Advice that instigates social transformation.

Exodus 15-17 – God’s surprising provision and abundance are part of the new systems: no one is meant to hoard and all will receive as much as they need.

Exodus 20:1-17 – set aside memorized and colonialized understandings; attempt to read these through the lens of a people who are just dissociating from a dominance culture.

Deepen these discussions with the quick read, Biblical Amnesia (Scott W. Gustafson; Infinity, 2004).

Return to Trimble’s post and consider her suggestions for changing the risk/reward equation. How might your individuals, congregation, and/or community participate in making:

  • healthcare more profitable than denying it
  • peace more profitable than going to war
  • women’s rights and freedom more profitable than selling women and girls to human traffickers
  • investing in under-resourced communities more profitable than jailing black and brown people
  • etc.

If your group is ready to really think outside the box, this whole study could lead to participation in the three-part Engaging Christianities and Socialisms webinar series (March 8, April 12, and May 10, 2021) offered by Vanderbilt Divinity School and The Institute for Christian Socialism.

This is a very relevant Lenten discussion! How might Lent be a season to look forward to transformation and new life on these grand scales? And how might your people participate in birthing that new life??

Could be life-giving…