Our seduction into beliefs in competition, scarcity, and acquisition are producing too many casualties. We need to depart a kingdom that creates isolation, polarized debate, an exhausted planet, and violence that comes with the will to empire. The abbreviation of this empire is called a consumer culture. We think the free market ideology that surrounds us is true and inevitable and represents progress. We are called to better adapt, be more agile, more lean, more schooled, more, more, more. Give it up. There is no such thing as customer satisfaction. We need a new narrative, a shift in our thinking and speaking. An Other Kingdom takes us out of a culture of addictive consumption into a place where life is ours to create together. This satisfying way depends upon a neighborly covenant an agreement that we together, will better raise our children, be healthy, be connected, be safe, and provide a livelihood. The neighborly covenant has a different language than market-hype. It speaks instead in a sacred tongue.
Authors Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, and John McKnight invite you on a journey of departure from our consumer market culture, with its constellations of empire and control. Discover an alternative set of beliefs that have the capacity to evoke a culture where poverty, violence, and shrinking well-being are not inevitable a culture in which the social order produces enough for all. They ask you to consider this other kingdom. To participate in this modern exodus towards a modern community. To awaken its beginnings are all around us. An Other Kingdom outlines this journey to construct a future outside the systems world of solutions.
Peter Block (Cincinnati, OH; www.peterblock.com; www.designedlearning.com) is a leading consultant and bestselling author whose work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops designed by Peter to build the skills outlined in his books. He received a Masters Degree in Industrial Administration from Yale in 1963. He has received national awards for outstanding contributions in the field of training and development, including the American Society for Training and Development Award for Distinguished Contributions; the Association for Quality and Participation President s Award; and Training Magazine HRD Hall of Fame. Walter Brueggemann (Cincinnati, OH; www.walterbrueggemann.com) is one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades, known throughout the world for his method of combining literary and sociological modes when reading The Bible. He has written more than 58 books, hundreds of articles, and several commentaries on books of the Bible, has contributed to the Living the Questions DVD series, and participated in Bill Moyers PBS television series on Genesis. John McKnight (Evanston, IL) is emeritus professor of education and social policy and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. He is the coauthor of Building Communities from the Inside Out and the author of The Careless Society.
Signs of the Times xiii Introduction: C ontext Is Decisive xvii The Landscape of the Market World xx Enclosure xxi Covenantal Versus Contractual Order xxi The Neighborly Covenant xxii Chapter 1 The Free Market Consumer Ideology 1 Scarcity 2 Certainty and Perfection 3 Privatization 3 The Institutional Assumptions 4 Better Management/Technology Is the Fix 4 Interpersonal Is a Problem 5 Competition Trumps Trust 5 Toward a Neighborly Culture 6 A Culture Based on Covenant 6 Chapter 2 Neighborly Beliefs 9 Abundance 9 Mystery 10 Mystery at Work 11 A Place for God 13 Holiness 15 Wilderness 15 Fallibility 16 Failing to Be God 18 Grief 19 The Common Good 20 Chapter 3 Enough Is Enough: Limits of the Market Ideology 21 The Consumer Market Disciplines 22 Surplus 22 Predictability and Control 24 Speed and Convenience 26 The Sale of Convenience 26 Convenience Displaces Capacity 27 Digital Solutions 28 The Meaning of Money 29 Money and the Machine 30 Wishing for Safety, Believing in Growth 31 Competition and Class 32 Class by Design 33 Class Warfare and the Distribution of Wealth 34 The Myth of Individualism 36 Chapter 4 Tentacles of Empire 37 The Corporatization of Schools 38 No View from the Top 38 End of Aliveness 39 Mobility and Isolation 40 Un-Productive Wealth 41 Violence 42 Illusion of Reform 43 Chapter 5 The Common Good Is the New Frontier 45 The Neighborly Covenant 46 The Commons 48 An Alternative Social Order 49 Resisting the Empire 50 Off-Market Possibilities 51 The Neighborly Way 53 The Alternative to Restless Productivity 55 The Shadow Side of Community 58 Chapter 6 The Disciplines of Neighborliness 61 Time 63 A Time for All Things 63 Time Is the Devil 63 Standing in Line 65 Kairos 65 Food 66 Food and Sacred Re-Performance 67 The Local Food Movement 69 Food and Culture 69 Silence 71 Listening 72 Quakers and Time and Listening 72 Sacraments of Silence 73 Covenant: A Vow of Freedom and Faithfulness 74 Covenant and Retributive Justice 75 Abundance and the Right Use of Money 75 Money and Our Affection for Place 77 A Liturgy for the Common Good 77 Prophetic Possibilities 78 Story as Liturgy and Re-Performance 79 The Re-Performing Power of Liturgy 79 Postscript: Beyond Money and Consumption 81 Timing Is Everything 82 Signs of Change 83 Commentaries 85 References and Further Reading 97 Acknowledgments 103 About the Authors 105 Index 111