Reverend Billy preaches peace on earth for real

Had enough Christmas consumption yet? Well, if you’re in New York, you can catch Reverend Billy and his Life After Shopping Gospel Choir for their Peace on Earth Revival at the Society for Ethical Culture on Saturday. If you don’t know him, Rev. Billy is a fantastic performance artist who uses the idiom of evangelical religion to call for some real transcendence—beyond the deadly habits of consumerism, militarism, and environmental desecration. Here’s what the blurb has to say:

Is war still the new black? What happened to Peace? Wars rage around the world, violence thrives in so many places, on so many borders. Most appalling is the absence of leadership , world leaders do not champion peace anymore. War is normalized. Marketers urge the government not to call wars “war” anymore.

Reverend Billy and the 40 voice Life After Shopping Gospel Choir dedicate their 10th annual Christmas show to all those in harms way, living under threat of violence or reprisal, and to all landscapes brutalized by machinery, artillery and munitions. As the Nation celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace Reverend Billy reminds us that you don’t have to be a Christian to hope that a child will be born who might grow up to teach us peace, this holy wonder we have forgotten. Peace-a-lujah!

For more on Billy, see my 2009 profile of him in Religion Dispatches.