Year of Jubilee
I leave this page up as a historical record of an event that took place in 2022. It is meant to remind us of the possibilities rather than to believe what we have inherited and thus far adopted is impossible to change.
In 2022, I will hold a Year of Jubilee. I will work, but take no income. The Jubilee will end on December 31, 2022, or when 2022 Total Expenses reach $32,800. During the Jubilee, you are encouraged to expeditiously pay down your debts, forgive the debts of others, or donate to the National African American Reparations Commission. If you feel very strongly that you should give me something, please donate to the scholarship funds at Wake Forest University School of Divinity or mail a gift card from the Durham Food Co-op. Thank you for your participation. You can read more about the Year of Jubilee below.
You may be wondering, “What is a Year of Jubilee?” and “Why?” The name is inspired by a passage from the book in the sacred texts of both Jewish and Christian spiritual traditions called Leviticus and described in the 25th chapter. In the 50th year of a community’s life together, there is to be a forgiveness of debts, redistribution of wealth, and manumission of slaves. The land, property, and people return to a state of equality. It is the Sabbath of all Sabbaths.
This modern example of a Jubilee, held in my 51st year of life, is meant to be a demonstration of an economic model called 'God's Economy,' as described in my book, "A Quiet Revolution of the Heart." In this ever-present Economy, more often referred to as ‘the environment,’ all material, energy, and work are freely given to be equally shared by all. Contrast that with the economic model Americans have inherited, and thus far adopted, which converts time and material into profits to accumulate wealth into fewer and fewer hands by denying access to food, housing, medicine, and more, and thus denying Life, to the poor while corrupting the spirits, relationships, and thus the experience of Life, of the wealthy. And let us not forget how inextricably bound up is this human economy with the social, political, and legal systems which denies power, and thus safety, to persons black, brown, female, and anyone else who does not conform to the image of the actual minority. In such an economy as this, difference breeds resentment, and inequality contempt. Characterize such a system as you will. I have formed my own opinions.
Due to the trustworthiness, responsibility, and generosity of my clients in this past year, in the year ahead I am able to offer an example of a Year of Jubilee; to share with you a taste of what God’s Economy is like. In 2021, the income my clients contributed for teletherapy sessions doubled my expenses (for every $1 I spent personally and professionally, my clients chose to pay $2). Rather than accumulate more, in 2022 I will use last year’s surplus to live well in the year ahead. I will work, but for no income. As a result, the stress this human economy places upon my clients and neighbors will be ever so slightly, and ever so briefly, relieved. To take these ideas to the next level, I will need the assistance of others. Please see the Hope for Our Future page for more details.
In the human economy, we live by two unspoken social agreements which cause great harm to all who inhabit this planet we share. These two agreements can be summarized as follows: first, earn as much money as you possibly can, and second, spend as much as you want. In obedience to these two agreements, we place tremendous stress on each other as consumers and on the planet as provider, respectively. Only when we feel we have fulfilled the first two agreements do we turn attention to a third unspoken agreement: to put forth as little effort as possible to achieve agreements one and two and deprive others of our gifts and care.
I truly believe that if those who earned above the median in income (about $60,000 annually) were to strive for the middle, which is to say, ‘work towards equality,’ or put more bluntly, ‘try to earn less,’ while we all continue to work to care well for each other, as good neighbors would, and if we would consume only what we need, rather than as much as we want, we’d all be better off. The Year of Jubilee is one effort to demonstrate just how true that can be. For one year, I intend to step into an Economy which is much healthier for us all. While we continue our work together in the year to come, I will be living in a state foreign to many Americans. I welcome you to join me for a visit or an extended stay. Many blessings to you all and to all those you love.