(graphic courtesy of revbilly.com)
Are you actually a reverend or have you taken the role of reverend for your performance art? If it's the latter, why did you choose this particular method to get your message across?
We Stop Shopping. We resist consumerism. So we don't adhere to the labels that products must have. We have a church and a reverend and a choir, but we don't start with those labels. We ask that you experience yourselves with us, together having an experience of not shopping -- what we call the "Fabulous Worship!" - then make up descriptions and words later...
How are you and your choir able to devote so much time to the cause and still manage to make a living?
God bless you! This means that we are whipping up a lot of fire and brimstone, sound and fury, signifying Stop Shopping! To your question: We have set up a legal nonprofit. We accept donations through the website, approach foundations, pass the plate. The greatest source of value to our choir is the volunteerism of the singers, who have day jobs and families.
Your message is upsetting to many people. Have you ever felt that your personal safety was at risk?
All real change is found offensive by some. Jesus showed us to forgive. Gandhi and Dr. King and Cesar Chavez showed the way. Change must always have an instigator.
Freegans have recently become known to popular culture, have you ever considered joining forces with them since you both believe strongly in the same/similar issue?
We have eating styles and faith backgrounds from all over the map. Our group is like a subway car in Queens or a bus in South Central Los Angeles. We don't dictate life style value systems to our community. The one value we share is that we want to Consume less.
What was the impetus that caused you to form the Church of Stop Shopping?
Now more than ever we must change, the earth itself, creation itself, is demanding that we change how we live. We consider ourselves translators for the earth.
I see that The Church of Stop Shopping has expanded from it's original idea to include privatization and become much more political. How did this come about?
Nothing is more political that Stopping our Shopping. The present economic system, as run by the mega-corporations, needs for us to shop till we drop, to stay in personal debt, ,and in doing so to convert from citizens over to consumers. All things that we own in common, the post office, the parks, the armed services -- they are becoming privatized by the Consumerizers. If you say No! than they call you a protester. Citizens say No! sometimes because we know that we have our First Amendment freedoms. Take the test - go to your local park and shout what you believe! Change-a-lujah!
I loved that you went all the way to Disneyland for the cause and at the same time was really surprised to learn that they were open on Christmas! What gives you the courage to be so bold and to not fear being arrested?
We must always be willing to risk arrest. All the great Change leaders from Jesus to the present had that willingness, that faith. Police people often don't work for us - they represent those who own and defend property and money.
What advice would you give to someone who believes strongly in something and would like to start a movement, but feels alone and doesn't know where to start?
Talk to us at Revbilly.com. We have a chapter called "How To Start Your Own Church." People in many communities have begun their own Stop Shopping churches. It always starts with - what do you do well? We like to sing and preach. You might have more power in your dancing, in your skate-boarding, in your quiet writing.
What brings you comfort and joy?
People who come to our "Fabulous Worships," or who come to weddings and baptisms that we perform - when they come and have that experience with us! Amen!