“We believe we will look back and see this epoch as a time when we took a leap and re-created a sustainable system built to serve basic human needs... a revolution, so to speak, when society, faced with grave challenges, started to make seismic shift from an unfettered zeal for individual getting and spending toward a rediscovery of collective good.” (p. 224-225 Botsman & Rogers What’s mine is yOURS: The rise of collaborative consumption 2010)
So ends Botsman & Roger's book about the rise of collaborative consumption. The book explore emerging new ways of exchanging and sharing goods and lives. Ways which raise questions about our current preoccupation with personal ownership.
On one level some of the stuff which they explore reminded me of meeting people who still lived in communes near Nimbin when I was growing up at Kyogle, people who had caught a Utopian dream for alternative living in the 1960s. The book also had echoes of some of the emerging church models.
What challenged me most in reading the book was the irony that many who have sought to live differently have done so departing from a culture in which Christian ideals were supposed to be dominant. A culture in which personal achievement and individual success appears to have come to outweight the so called common good.
However, reading the New Testament one gets a sense that the early Christian communities were places people sought to live sharing their lives and goods in a more intimate and intentional way. The question then is how did we lose sight of this aspect of faithful living in response to the good news. Whilst the vision shared in the book is not Christian I believe there are some thoughts about who we are and what our priorities may be that may need revisiting as we consider how to live as Christians.