From my youth I have had an inward sense of how very unstable our world order truly is. I saw humanity acting with violence, injustice, and disregard of Earth’s life and beauty, and I knew that this could not continue. At the same time I had a sense of a different order dawning.
Whatever this sense owed to the peculiar contours of my personal psyche, I learned to connect it with the New Testament’s vision of a new creation and a new humanity united in Christ – not united as Christians, in some outward way, but united as each of us personally participates in a single emerging collective consciousness: the mind of Christ.
What would it be like if we could make money decisions within this unified field of consciousness? What if there were no dualistic sense of giver and receiver, but only the unified awareness of flow from one part of the Body to another? What would our world look like? What would happen to the violence, the injustice, the disregard of the Earth’s life and beauty?
This is how I imagine what it would be like for us today to experience what the New Testament portrays as the experience of the early church: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
I live in the hope that the glimpse we have of it in the early church will prove to be a portent for a future in which money will flow freely within a field of unity.
Today, more and more, I see glimpses of that future. Here are two bulletins from the front lines of economic transformation:
In Kayonza, Rwanda, the local Unity group — perpetrators and survivors of the 1994 genocide who have been reconciled through the work of REACH-Rwanda — had undertaken, in the time before the pandemic, a process of community-based co-operative economic development.
This process is known as VICOBA (Village Community Banking), an outreach program of the Kitega Community Center in Uganda. The program came to Kayonza through the cooperative efforts of the Kitega Center, REACH-Rwanda, and the US-based African Road.
(In 2018 Rose and I had dinner with David Clemy of the Kitega Center, the Rev. Philbert Kalisa of REACH, and Kelly Bean of African Road at a restaurant called Heaven in Kigali. It was at that dinner that Philbert spotted the beautiful soaps for sale in the restaurant gift shop, made by the women of Nyamata with whom the Boston Circle is in partnership.)
As pandemic restrictions were recently lightened in Rwanda, the Kayonza cohort set out to assess their progress with VICOBA. As Kelly Bean told me the story, the cohort noted that they were having difficulty with the process and not making progress. At the root of the difficulty, they noticed, was the fact that they did not trust one another with money.
The Kayonza Unity group has decided to undergo another round of reconciliation training so that they can more readily work with money in unity. They recognized their need to move with more unity and so have committed to move through the needed reconciliation even further. Bulletin one.
(I hope to hear the story in person from Philbert when I meet with him in person after he speaks at the African Road Gala in Portland on July 17.)
Meanwhile, here in the US, I recently attended a remote gathering of investors in a new health care provider — operating publicly in a few local markets but still under the radar — that operates on a principle of love. Their business model asks “What would it be like if the staff treated every member as a beloved of their own family?”
It turns out that when a health care provider, working within our present system, provides every service possible of the highest quality possible as soon as possible and in a personalized way, there is an abundance of money left over.
And what if this surplus were not distributed to investors, but was instead made available to local communities as a resource for health-related needs that are not met by the present health care system?
And what if the decisions about the distribution of funds were made, not by an institutional staff, but by the members themselves — people who know themselves to be loved and cared for now gathering in conversation to support one another and their neighbors?
And what if the resources thus distributed by the collective wisdom of the local members were then to lead to actual improvements in public health and well-being, yielding a further surplus of funds within the present system? Imagine an economic and a healthcare system that was truly of service to the people using it. Call that profit, and nothing else.
Bulletin number two.
What if money were allowed to move within a field of unity for the good of all?
I believe in unity as our future and our past. Our indigenous ancestors lived from this place where their humanity flowed from and was sourced in the Divine. Prophets new and old have sensed this path forward. Teilhard de Chardin envisioned unity as the end-point, the destiny, or the Omega point of human evolution, where (paraphrasing Cynthia Bourgeault), just as once, earlier in Earth’s evolution, long chains of molecules took the leap to become single-celled organisms, so one day, God willing, our great networks of human connection will transform into a single unified Human organism: the Parousia of the Christ.
To me, the bulletins I mention are signs that we are beginning to learn how money – perhaps our most profound and powerful human invention – can move within a field of human unity for the good of all. I believe we are seeing in these signs the dawning of a new order.
What dispatches do you have from where you are sitting?
We’d love to hear of how money is moving in a field of unity for the good of all in your life. Leave a comment below.
This is a very inspiring piece. My wife and I share a common life with others in which we own nothing and pull all our resources together as an expression of our unity of faith and in response to Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17. We don’t consider anything we have–individually or collectively–as our own: it is God’s. In this way we are able to live, work, worship, educate, and reach out to others in spirit of generosity and sharing. We are also able to demonstrate the possibility of living justly, where there are neither rich nor poor. This is a gift, but it is also declaration that God’s peaceable kingdom can be a reality here and now.