Rodney Clapp on Green Martyrdom

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : May 10, 2006

Todd Hobart recently summarized Rodney Clapp’s "Green Martyrdom" talk from the conference on his blog.  I think his summary is very good and worth sharing with the world:

martyrdom means suffering for deeply held Christian beliefs in a
consumer culture through various physical, material, and economic
sacrifices, instead of through the giving of one’s life or through
suffering torture or imprisonment for one’s beliefs. He laid out five
practical ways that one could approach this process:

  1. Laying ourselves on the line, and our families, instead of making others suffer for our economic choices.
    This means, in part, paying attention to the hidden realities that
    producers in other parts of the world suffer from so that people in the
    United States can consume goods for a low price.
  2. Not segregating the rich from the poor.
    This has to do with maintaining ties with the poor both on a personal
    and ecclesial level. Often those with means in the United States are
    physically separated by choice from the realities of the poor (i.e. the
  3. Commit one’s whole self to a church community and place for the long haul.
    This indentification with a certain area or location is not simply out
    of convenience, or habit, but comes from a missional commitment to a
    certain place and people.
  4. Challenging idolatry and naming greed as idolatry.  Conversations among members of green martyr churches should be encouraged along these lines.
  5. Name the reality of death and its eventuality.
    This is tough to do in our culture. I watched part of an Elimidate the
    other night (shame on me) where one girl said about another: "Why is
    she always talking about death? Come on, this is America, have some

A final quote from Clapp: "The perfect consumer is an addict - who can never rest and never has enough."

In October, we are hoping to offer up a followup to the conference.  Call it a "consultation on Christianity in a Consumer Culture."  We are tenatively planning on having a day long consultation at a local church, focusing on these five principles of Green Martyrdom.  We’ll probably ask Rodney Clapp to come back to help foster the discussion.  The reason for the consultation is that we didn’t have enough time in the conference to really hammer out some plans for action.  This will offer a way to continue the conversations started at the conference.  We will, however, open it to everyone–not just those who attended the conference. 

for further reading . . .

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