Responding in our Watershed

BY ED SLOANE | September 21, 2020
Sunday’s Readings

The Roman Empire provides an important backdrop and context for this Sunday’s Gospel. When Jesus gives us the image of God as a landowner in the Kingdom of heaven, he is speaking to anxieties that many of his hearers were experiencing as a result of the Roman occupation of Judea, Galilee, and surrounding lands. Rome’s system of taxation and tribute resulted in mounting debt that led to land loss, forcing many into the precarious economic circumstances of the day laborers Jesus describes. Such economic anxieties frayed the social fabric of village economies based on customs of mutual aid. Jesus’ description of the Kingdom draws his hearers back to the economic vision described in the Hebrew tradition, grounded in generous sharing of material goods, hospitality, and care for the most vulnerable, including Earth.


Similarly, issues currently confronting communities across the U. S. today, particularly the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the systemic racism that does violence to Black lives and communities, and the urgent reality of climate change, all have roots in an economy that socializes and pressures us to prioritize individual economic security over the common good of the community.

In an effort to discern a response, we tend to think at the scale of reforming global structures or how we might respond as individuals. While these are important, we tend to miss what is in-between. How can we nurture collective responses in our watershed, in our neighborhood, in our town or city ward, in our parish? It is here that we can most effectively shift power. We can join or start co-operatives or community gardens, host neighborhood resource or skill sharing networks, offer weekly potlucks at our parishes, or pass neighborhood ordinances. In short, we can minimize our dependence on the economies of empire. Together, in solidarity, we can enact a preferential option for public health, Black lives, Earth, and all others sacrificed in the name of ‘the market.’

2 replies
  1. RJ Andes
    RJ Andes says:

    So basically you want people to create there own utopia and have a alternative for BLM so the current government does not profit and make it so you share,create resources, healthcare and many other things you might not of mentioned.

    It’s interesting about Romans, they had high taxation so they could fund there army and improve living during that time. Yes we know most of what they did was bad ie persecution of catholic/jews, owning slaves, land grabbing, starving the poor etc.

    But without them we would not have:
    Road structures
    Postal services
    Better living standards
    Laws from Romans ( Some )
    First surgical tools
    Plumbing and Sanitary management
    Arch bridges
    Air conditioning
    Many more…

    This is what high taxation developed and without it can you imagine not having your AC on whilst it’s hot and pipes and sewage protecting you from the smell and diseases. You should be thanking them.

    Back to your uptopia vision, yes there are examples of groups of people who are kind of self sufficient that live off the grid and they manage but they still have to pay the government. Every item you buy, everything you use the government will get money towards the economy. Plus the ongoing maintenance needed to maintain a comfortable living environment for all can get high at the start.

    Also self policing will be very difficult because the larger the community grows the more problems will happen and eventually utopia will fail because you became something you protest against.Look at Portland has an example with the chop zone.

    Has for healthcare will you have trained doctors and nurses, will you have the equipment and medicine needed for all possible outcomes, a little first aid box and a few essentials will not do anything except hinder the lives. So you would need proper healthcare down the line at some point.

    I know and understand you mean well with what you say, but I don’t agree with any of it. Has a black man I’m entitled to exactly the same benefits as you there is no system in place preventing me at all.

    Can I vote ?
    Can I get a loan or mortgage?
    Can my children attend any school,college or university they want ?
    Can I live in any area I want ?
    Walk or Drive without police harassment ?
    Enter exclusive clubs notably aimed at whites ?

    YES to all just like you it’s 2020 not before civil rights kicked in, and I’m not a believer in climate change all that’s happening now has has happened before it’s just earths natural cycle we can’t slow it down or stop it completely, just my opinion.

    Has for Covid this is what people need to concentrate on not fancy hashtags, speaking for BLM or Black people, putting lives at risks at unwanted protests which the majority are white or vs lockdown, not creating conspiracy theories about Trump and the government. But instead a enemy that doesn’t care about your race,gender or creed and a virus that will take the ones you love.

    If we can’t defeat Covid how do you expect to defeat non existant racism and earth’s natural cycle, only 1 is real and it will get worse before it gets better…that’s the truth of a free black voice.


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