Limited Time Free eBook Offer: ‘The Cure for Consumerism’

(Acton PowerBlog) The latest monograph from Acton, The Cure for Consumerism by Rev. Gregory Jensen,will be available for free starting this Wednesday, June 10, and ending Friday, the 12th, at mThe Cure for Consumerismidnight. This is the second monograph in the Orthodox Christian Social Thought Series.

Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a rapid growth of human flourishing, but critics of the market economy have argued that these improvements have led to consumerism and rampant materialism. This monograph will explore the possible cures for consumerism. Can society actively choose to consume less? Does our economic system need a complete overhaul? Rev. Jensen will explore these possibilities, synthesizing insights from the spiritual tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church with modern social science. This monograph will offer practical solutions to consumerism, putting both faith and economic freedom to work for the common good.

To read a sample or to learn more about The Cure for Consumerism, be sure to visit www.CureConsumerism.com. On Wednesday, you can get your free copy at Amazon.

The Rev. Gregory Jensen is a social scientist specializing in religion and personality theory. Currently he is the interim pastor of St Ignatius Orthodox Church in Madison, WI and Orthodox Chaplain at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He blogs at Koinonia and the American Orthodox Institute. In 2013, he was a Lone Mountain Fellow with the Bozeman, Mont.-based Property and Environmental Research Center (PERC).

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“No earthly power is ultimate. That is the great religious contribution to liberty.”

The concept of the moral limits of power is more important to freedom than is democracy. For democracy contains within it a fatal danger. Tocqueville gave it a name: the ‘tyranny of the majority.’ A majority can oppress a minority. The only defense against this is to establish the moral limits of power . . . Biblical politics is limited politics—the political of liberal democracies, not of the Greek city state.

Rabbi Lord Sacks (2007) The Home We Build Together.

Source: Jewish “conservatism,” or “Jewish” conservatism? | Spengler

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The Moral Limits of Psychology | Acton Institute

Defenders of the free market insist that virtue is essential to a just and thriving economy. If morality is relevant to economics, it is equally so to allied fields of social science, all of which have as their object of investigation the human person. Indifference to the moral dimension distorts the study of human action in economics; so too does it deform the discipline that reaches behind that action to the human mind: psychology.

 

Built on a sound anthropological foundation and guided by an equally sound morality that is clear on the proper goals of human life, the empirical findings and practical techniques of psychology can foster the flourishing of both persons and communities. Unfortunately, as Theodore Dalrymple argues in his most recent book Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality, contemporary psychology has long been not only hostile to traditional morality but also indifferent to and dismissive of the larger context of Western culture within which it arose. As a result contemporary psychology, according to Dalrymple, “is not a key to self-understanding but a cultural barrier to such understanding as we can achieve.”

Source: The Moral Limits of Psychology | Acton Institute

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The “least of these” are not the poor…

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says,

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

This text is not about poor people generally. It’s about Christians getting the door slammed in their face while sharing the gospel with a neighbor. It’s about the baker/florist/photographer who is being mistreated for bearing faithful witness to Christ. It’s about disciples of Jesus having their heads cut off by Islamic radicals. In other words, it’s about any disciple of Jesus who was ever mistreated in the name of Jesus. This text shows us that Jesus will judge those who show contempt for the gospel by mistreating gospel-bearers.

Read the rest: The “least of these” are not the poor but the Christian baker, photographer, and florist | Denny Burk

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The Cure for Consumerism Now Available on Amazon

I’ve been neglected my blog for the past year while I’ve pursued other research and writing projects. Chief among these is a monograph for the Acton Institute on consumerism that’s just come out today on Amazon (The Cure for Consumerism).Here’s the summary that’s on Amazon:

Despite the rapid increase in human flourishing since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, critics of the market economy insist that it leads inevitably to consumerism and other excesses of materialism. Those who make this indictment—including sociologists, political pundits, and religious leaders—also ignore how economic liberty has brought about one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: an 80 percent reduction in world poverty since 1970. The Cure for Consumerism examines popular prescriptions for addressing consumerism that range from simply consuming less to completely overhauling our economic system. In this lively and accessible book, Rev. Gregory Jensen synthesizes insights from the spiritual tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church with modern social science to craft a clear understanding of consumerism, to offer real solutions to the problems, and to put faith and economic freedom to work for both the common good and the kingdom of God.

If you are concerned about social justice, economic issues, or just how to bring you economic life it greater harmony with the Gospel do consider buying it. Thank you!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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The Way Forward

Charlotte Allen’s editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal writes that if “the Supreme Court rule[s] … that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right” she anticipates “bubonic plague-level hysteria … threats of business boycotts” and even “death and arson threats” like those made against the “Catholic owners [who] told a reporter that, while they would gladly serve gays in their restaurant, they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding” against proponents of traditional marriage. While it is tempting to dismiss this as paranoia during when “Justice Samuel Alito asked Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether a religiously affiliated college that opposed same-sex marriage could lose its tax-exempt status after such a ruling. ‘It is going to be an issue,’ Mr. Verrilli replied.”

Whether or not the culture is lost or whether Christians will face persecution are open questions for me.  For what it may be worth to you, I’m not sure that our culture—any culture—isn’t already lost. This isn’t to dismiss culture, far from it. But like any culture, America’s is not monolithic. At best it is a mix of vice and virtue composed as it is by the many often contradictory and disordered loves of the men and women who live here.

Even traditionally minded Christians and other religious believers have surrendered to the attacks on biblical morality that we’ve seen in the last 40 or 50 years.  Even among Orthodox Christians the level of support for liberal abortion laws and for changing the definition of marriage are worryingly high. Many of us have simply fail to preach what we practice. Continue reading

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The Rite of Mutual Forgiveness

Sunday, February 22, 2015: Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheese Fare); Uncovering of the Seven Martyrs’ relics at Gate of Eugenios in Constantinople; Martyr Anthusa and her twelve servants.

St Ignatius Orthodox Church
Madison, WI

Epistle: Romans 13:11-14:4
Gospel: Matthew 6:14-21

detail-from-altar-doorOn the last Sunday before the beginning of the Great and Holy Fast, in parish churches, cathedrals and monasteries chapels, Orthodox Christian formally ask each other for forgiveness. We do this formally in the Rite of Forgiveness: “Forgive me a sinner! God forgives!” Most of the people from who we ask forgiveness today haven’t caused us any real harm. And even in those few cases where offense was given—or taken—the harm is almost always slight given unintentionally and without malice. In the Rite of Forgiveness we have simultaneously two roles to fulfill.

Continue reading

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