Are Our Reforms Radical Enough to Keep Earth Livable?
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 1:57PM
Lee Van Ham


A Quick Review of Ulrich Duchrow’s Recent Jubilee Presentations

by Lee Van Ham

On Nov. 3 and 4, Ulrich Duchrow gave three presentations in the San Diego region that spoke to the nature of the radical reforms needed today. He was sponsored by Jubilee USA and OneEarth Jubilee Economics.

Fifteen or so years ago, I first met Ulrich Duchrow. Ulrich is from Heidelberg, Germany, and is in the generation there that grew to adulthood following World War II asking, “How could the Nazis’ takeover have happened here?” Out of that question, he came to understand the difference between the civilization leading to death and the culture that pursues life. During the years I’ve known him, beginning around the year 2000, I’ve benefited enormously from his training and experiences in theology, economics, and ecology. 

For the past seven years, Ulrich has been guiding a process to fuel and radicalize reform movements. In 2010, Ulrich and others looked ahead to 2017 when many would be commemorating the 500th year since Martin Luther launched the Protestant  Reformation in Europe. Ulrich and his team seized the opportunity to teach about Luther and reform in ways that can help deepen all the reform movements that today work to keep Earth livable. 

Duchrow continues to live in Heidelburg, but the “radicalizing reformation” process has involved groups from many countries. The groups have developed excellent tools to critique the MultiEarth voices that aggressively insist on making growth the only mode able to provide solutions for civilization’s ailments. The opposite is, in fact, more productive. Seven books have come out of this project. A website, gives considerable information on the project. Most importantly, Duchrow points out countless ways that people are evolving OneEarth expressions in different countries. These expressions typically come from below where radical reforms are engineered  by people for whom civilization is not working at all well.

Liberating Religion as Starting Point for Work on the Culture of Life

The 3rd of his 3 presentations was hosted by OneEarth Jubilee Economics on the topic: “interreligious Critique of Capitalism.” Because of how culture and religion are integrated with one another, Duchrow has come to believe that the first step toward a new culture of life is to critique religion. The trick in this critique is to recognize religion that supports the civilization of death and also to recognize the complete counterpoint to it, namely, religion that supports the liberating culture of life. The critique digs to the roots of how religions, businesses, superpowers, investors, and shoppers have fully embraced the rise of capital that began in the 8th century BCE. Duchrow emphasizes that the Jewish prophets, the Torah, and Jesus all protested this economy. Nor were these the only religious impulses doing so. Buddha and Muhammed also protested various aspects of what an economy based on capital does to Creation and all of life. 

Today OneEarth Jubilee picks up on these liberating religious traditions and teachings to find an Earth-size way of living that works for all life.

Article originally appeared on OneEarth sustainability amid climate change (
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