Five Simple Things You Can Do To Loosen the Empire’s Hold

1) Turn off your TV. If turning it off seems like too big a step, try watching more critically. Develop the habit of responding to ads by saying aloud: “That’s not true!” Ask yourself how the program you are watching encourages your faithfulness to Jesus. Learn to resist the temptation offered by the empire of global consumption. Practice contentment.
2) Regularly give some money to someone who does not deserve it. Learn to resist the temptation to put conditions on your mercy. Develop the habit of openhandedness. Follow the One who calls you to give to anyone who asks.
3) When you see something beautiful, give thanks. When you see something ugly, look again until you see beauty. Then give thanks. Learn to resist the Empire’s definition of what is beautiful. See the world as a gift from God to be treasured.
4) Give one person the benefit of the doubt every day. Resist the Empire’s pull toward vengeance. Develop the ability to withhold judgment and to be generous with grace.
5) Pray the Lord’s Prayer every day. Make it the first thing you do in the morning, or the last thing you do at night. Or both. Resist the Empire’s claim to being God. Remember who you are and who God is and what that means for you and the world. (November 2008)

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