Last night I finally got to watch “What Would Jesus Buy?,” a film I have read about for over a year now (it was released in 2007). If you’ve ever dreaded the approach of another All-American Christmas Season or shuddered as you wondered if somehow there’s got to be more to our culture than shopping until we drop then this movie will warm your heart (but only after it has justified your fears).

The Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir are a prime example of taking a passion and yearning for something good and true and bringing it to life with creativity, humor and guts. Part vaudeville, part televangelist spoof, part activist road-show, this challenging church bravely confronts shopping Americans (are we really “consumers” or is that just what we’ve allowed ourselves to be labeled?) and urges them to pause to consider their purchasing habits – and the dominant culture that pushes them forward like lemmings over the cliff toward debt, dissatisfaction and soulless communities.

I found myself wishing I were on the tour bus with them, in the trenches viewing the American capitalist landscape through their determined, hopeful lenses (I’ve actually done this for years, only I wasn’t necessarily supported by a bus full of like-minded patriots). It would be like joining the circus for God and Country – but toward a new future and paradigm, not the current one in which that circus uniform is either Prada or military camouflage. No, performers in this new sideshow wear robes, laugh a lot, and hug you after they call your values into question.

We can’t all actually join the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, but we can become converts to the teachings of the church itself and Reverend Billy – and sing the songs we write for ourselves about a new way forward.

What creative ways can we eliminate waste, kill the cycle of addictive consumption, and build new communities based on real relationships, true love and a deeper call from the Creator? Watch this film and kick start your inspiration. C’mon brothers and sisters…can I get an “Amen!”?

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