A Matter for the Soul


In the  preface to her book,  Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate GlobalizationSharon captures her key ideas:

We are living at a time when humanity and the earth itself face unprecedented danger. The current form of corporate-dominated globalization is escalating the plunder of the earth’s riches, increasing the exploitation of workers, expanding police and military repression, and leaving poverty in its wake. The most powerful nations in the world support and promote this growing momentum, which pays off handsomely for a few wealthy individuals, giant corporations, and the politicians whose coffers they fill…

If corporations continue to amass greater wealth and power, poverty and inequity will also grow. More and more people around the world will be deprived of the basic necessities of life. Communities that have been self-sustaining for generations will continue to disintegrate, as local artisans, small businesses, and small farmers lose out to competition by transnational corporations. Native peoples will continue to be driven off their lands. Jobs will continue to be lost and labor standards will spiral downward. Places of beauty and diversity will continue to be devoured to create wealth for the few. The resulting social upheaval will require increasingly repressive police forces and ever more jails and prisons. Rich nations, especially the United States, will continue to enforce the corporate colonization of the world through military power. These patterns are already well underway, and are leading to growing poverty, social upheaval, repression, terrorism, war, misery, and ecological collapse.

In short, if we do not turn things around, we face a living hell, a hell on earth. The gates of this hell are open and looming before us.  This is a matter for the soul, for corporate domination is pervasive. It is hard to see beyond the corporate culture in which we live. In reality, it is not just around us, but also within us. So in a very real way, we are it!

For hell is not a place. Like heaven, it is a state of being that we can experience here and now. The Powers do not simply threaten the future, they oppress and extinguish life today. Rather than living in the hell of psychological bondage and spiritual oppression, we can claim our freedom as children of God, and allow the heavenly reality of divine grace to break in upon our lives…  Together with people around the world who are awakening to this historical crisis, we can “shake the gates of hell,” resisting the horror of a barren, violent, and poisoned future, while creating new and viable alternatives for human life in society and in communion with all life.

In this pivotal time the world desperately needs people who are willing to speak and act clearly, with power and integrity, to move us in the direction of hope.  Although I write from a Christian perspective, many of the ideas I present have a universal application.  This book is a call to people of faith to bring all the resources of the world’s great spiritual traditions to bear upon the current global crisis, together with the growing numbers of people of conscience around the world who are resisting the forces of destruction and creating alternatives that sustain life. Only by tapping into these spiritual traditions and connecting with the wisdom of the earth itself will we have a strong enough spiritual and moral foundation to carry us through this time of crisis, when the earth and all its creatures are “groaning in labor pains” (Rom. 8)