Re: "Jesus Christians," "Australian cult," Dave McKay
Date: March 03, 2009 03:26AM
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JESUS CHRISTIANS NEWSLETTER #109, MARCH 2009
Get ready for it, folks! There is a lot of big news this month!
We apologise for not having put out a February newsletter. We have been
purposely hiding the fact that there was a reunion of the entire community in
Kenya during January and February. This was because of concerns over that
information getting through to the wrong people and causing serious problems
for us there. Kenya is a country where "lynchings" take place on a daily basis.
Crowds are easily stirred up with claims that someone is a witch or a satanist
or even just that they have stolen something. In one case, a man robbed
another and then started shouting to the crowd that the victim had robbed him,
and so the victim was killed by the crowd.
Anyway, the reunion was a resounding success in many ways. We had some
fantastic fellowship, were able to band together on a number of exciting
projects, and are even now in the midst of fitting in a luxurious (by JC
standards) holiday at the beach for a few days on our way back to our
THE PERMACULTURE GARDEN
Cherry was a special help, putting into practice much that she has learned over
the past few years about permaculture, to produce an oasis of vegetation even
in the midst of one of the driest periods we have experienced in Kenya. We now
have more than twenty different plants growing in our little "Holy Garden",
plus a small fishpond, which is attracting frogs, lizards, and worms, which add
to the natural ecosystem that makes the garden largely self-sustaining. We
have installed extra rainwater tanks, which are largely empty now, but which
should fill quickly later this month, when the rainy season begins. They
should hold enough (90,000 litres) to keep the garden watered even during the
Farms all over Kenya have been dependent on artificial fertilisers for many
years, which have actually stripped the soil of other nutrients. However, we
have managed to get by without using any artificial fertilisers on our garden,
depending, instead on both human and vegetable waste. A nearby sugar factory
has a mountain of sugar cane pulp that is left to rot nearby, and for the cost
of trucking it to our garden we have been able to put about ten tons of the
pulp back into the ground. We are making this pulp available to local farmers
as well, in return for a small contribution toward the transport costs.
A FEATURE-LENGTH VIDEO
Another significant project that has come out of the reunion is an hour-long
documentary on the Jesus Christians, featuring a lot of our music, and covering
such topics as kidney donations, money throwaways, the Nullarbor walk,
freeganism, and the "cult" image. We hope to have that available for
distribution on the streets within just a couple of months. At this stage, it
looks like the title will be: "The JCs... more than just a band."
20,000 PEACE T-SHIRTS SOLD
We sold the last of 20,000 "Amani Kenya" ("Peace, Kenya") T-shirts this month,
and then sold the silk screen supplies needed to produce more of them to a
local businessman, whom we hope will continue the project.
EASY ENGLISH DEVELOPMENTS
Local school teachers are being motivated to put more effort into promoting the
Easy English reading program, by being offered a choice between a new bicycle
or a sewing machine if their class can reach a certain reading target (based on
the age of the students in the class). We have already seen a marked
improvement in the effort being put in by the teachers, who are paid less than
$2 a day to teach classes which often have more than 100 students in them.
We had a near riot when we took hundreds of badly worn Easy English books to a
nearby town and set up a tiny stall on the footpath, where they were offered to
people for about six cents apiece. Over 700 books were sold in less than an
hour. It is very satisfying to know that even after the books (which are
recycled through student after student in the reading program) are so badly
worn that they are falling apart, parents in other towns will still fight to
get them so that their children can also benefit from the stories contained in
'DESTROYERS' HITS THE STREETS
We failed to mention that way back in December, shipments of "Destroyers"
arrived in Australia and England, where a few thousand went out on the streets
before members left those countries for the reunion. Initial response has been
good, and we are looking forward to getting a shipment to Kenya, where we
expect it will be especially well received because so much of the story takes
place in a small village in Western Kenya.
AN END TO AUTONOMY
There was a significant vote by the people attending the reunion to do away (at
least for the next year) with the concept of autonomous teams, and to re-join
with one another as a single worldwide community. We had an election to choose
two co-leaders for the overall community, with four candidates nominated. Alf
and Joe were convincingly elected, and have already set to work on some
exciting plans for a project in England, where most members of the community
will stop off on their way back to the other continents.
Joe's article on how consumption of luxury items in the West contributes to
malnutrition in developing countries (because their land is used to feed our
appetite for things like coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, sugar, and meat, and is
thus not available for growing basic necessities) has led to numerous intense
discussions during the reunion. As a consequence, we have been experimenting
with cutting out or cutting down on each of these items. Bin-raiding outside
of Kenya often enables us to consume luxury items without having to feel guilt
about contributing to the problems that their growth represents. However, we
want to seriously consider the implications if we choose to purchase any of
them, and to take appropriate action. We felt that it would be unfair to
impose restrictions on the Kenya team, however, as they already get by with
Because we knew there would be serious food shortages in Kenya this month,
people coming over all packed their suitcases and hand luggage full of food
items. Overall, we managed to transport more than a TON (literally!) of food,
including more than 300kg of rice alone. Items brought over included lentils,
powdered potatoes, salamis, pasta, and cheese.
There was also discussion about the implications of international air travel
for so many of us, and how it affects our carbon footprint. We had seriously
been considering cutting out all international travel after the reunion, until
someone came up with the idea of approaching airlines and offering to go on
standby, so that we would only travel on planes which would be destined to fly
with empty seats if we did not use them. In the past, we have often done
something like this, in that we would volunteer to be "bumped" if there were
too many passengers for a flight. But under international rules, the airline
is obligated to give us a free ticket for our next flight when they do that,
and so, on a very large scale, it would still contribute to the airlines adding
additional flights, to save on having to pay such penalties. We are now
thinking of approaching airlines and suggesting that they actually advertise
"green tickets" which are more or less used at the airline's discretion for
lightly booked flights, such as go out early in the morning, or early in the
week. This is one way for conscientious greenies to travel without
contributing significantly to the carbon footprint.