Since creating the post-religious Church of Stop Shopping in 1999, the Reverend Billy has held services in churches, community centres, forests, fields, parking lots, shopping malls and – above all – inside brand-name stores across the US and Europe, preaching against consumerism, and for economic and ecological justice.

The creation of actor Bill Talen, the Reverend Billy is a televangelist-style preacher with Elvis hair whose antics were considered sufficiently threatening that Starbucks once issued a memo to its employees explaining how to deal with him (‘What should I do if Reverend Billy is in my store?’). Friends who have taken part in his actions tell me that they were among the most moving activist experiences they’ve ever had.

A genre-defying (and beautifully designed) blend of words and pictures – part sermon, part personal narrative, part surreal fantasy, its brief 118 pages contain 33 images, ranging from a horse’s eye and a slice of pumpkin pie to a decoration from Newton’s Principia – Talen’s latest book attempts to share his ‘personal work at making an Earthy religion’ in response to our environmental crises, the biggest of which, of course, is climate change.

Read the full review at Peace News.

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