An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture

An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture

An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture

An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119194729
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 01/19/2016
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)

About the Author

Peter Block (Cincinnati, OH;; 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; 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.

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Table of Contents

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

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