More book reviews by EcoFaith leaders will be posted in 2015. If you are interested in sharing a non-fiction book review related to topics relevant to EcoFaith Recovery contact Office@ecofaithrecovery.org.
Keywords: essays, activism, nonviolence, performance art, climate change, anti-capitalism
Billy Talen is a performance artist-preacher who dresses like a televangelist and holds revival meetings in streets, stores and banks, praising the Earth — Earthalujah! — and damning the evil influence of corporations. His very short book from 2012 packs in black humor, biting poetry, profound lament, and good news about the humanity and hope he’s experienced with his activist community, the Church of Stop Shopping.
Reverend Billy’s anti-consumerist, pro-people-power message goes way beyond satire. From page one he names the taboo on talking about the horror of our situation, and shatters it. He answers denial with fierce, personal, searching sermons on doomsday science and nonviolent direct action.
I picked up this book on Thanksgiving weekend, when I took my mom and brother to a Reverend Billy show in New York. As the Stop Shopping gospel choir clapped and chanted “human-caused climate change, climate-caused human change” and a soloist wailed about how “climate changed me,” Mom leaned over and whispered, “This is freaking awesome!” I was grinning through tears.
The timing was perfect. Maybe not everyone experiences an ominous mood in December (and some don’t have an appetite for irreverent end-is-near prophets at any time), but if you are one of those troubled by the relentlessly cheerful marketing of profitable cheer, you might find refuge here. I was so relieved that I read half the book in one sitting, which I don’t recommend — this is strong medicine. I’m shelving it with my devotionals now, to read little by little and often.
You will get a signed copy of The End of the World if you donate $30 to support the Church of Stop Shopping’s tours and activism in 2015 here.
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