Participants of WCC forum in Indonesia want ‘justice, not greed’
“Institutionalised greed with structural consequences demands counter measures at the structural level, if we are to overcome pressing problems of poverty, socio-economic disparities and ecological destruction,” said the Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, former general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
Raiser was sharing results of the “Greed Line Study Group”, which was presented at the Global Forum on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology, currently taking place in Bogor, Indonesia.
The forum will continue till June 22 to conclude the AGAPE (Alternative to Economic Globalisation Addressing Peoples and Earth) study process. The process was initiated by the WCC in 2006 at its 9th Assembly in Brazil.
The studies have attempted to address relations between poverty, wealth and ecology, undertaken in Africa in 2007, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008, Asia and the Pacific in 2009, Europe in 2010 and North America in 2011.
Speaking to participants at the forum, Raiser said that “report of the group calls on churches to continue to improve and monitor indicators of greed together with the civil society, and to engage in critical self-reflection. The study also urges the transformation of churches’ own production, consumption and investment behaviours.”
Referring the WCC statements on Just finance and economy of life and Eco-justice and ecological debt, Joy Kennedy, another participant from the United Church of Canada also stressed that “ecological debt is a spiritual issue.”
“The ecological debt is accumulated damage, caused over time to ecosystems, places and people, through production and consumption patterns. This includes the exploitation of ecosystems at the expense of equitable rights of other countries, communities or individuals,” said Kennedy, referring to the statement.
Addressing the relationship between ecological issues and economic relationships, she mentioned Jesus warning “You cannot serve both God and wealth” (Luke 16:13).
“Originating in the richest parts of the world, it points to the immorality of a system that glorifies money and has a dehumanising effect by encouraging acquisitive individualism. The resulting greed-based culture impoverishes human life, erodes the moral and ecological fabric of human civilisation, and intoxicates our psyche with materialism,” added Kennedy.
Aruna Gnanadason, another participant from the Church of South India shared women’s perspectives on economic and ecological justice, and their contribution to the AGAPE study process.
“The AGAPE process created the space for women to offer an alternative, a caring economy based on a feminist ethic of care, to replace the present global system of exclusion and the ruthless destruction of the earth,” said Gnanadason.
She went on to say that “an economy of care is indeed a brave alternative – a new analytical framework and praxis to replace the current theories and practices under the capitalist free market growth model.”
The forum is being organised by the WCC programme for Poverty, Wealth and Ecology, in support from the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Urban Community Mission Jakarta (PMK-HKBP) and Indonesia Christian Church (GKI-West Java regional synod).
WCC forum focuses on poverty, wealth and ecology (WCC press release of June 19 2012)