Because in the school of the Spirit,
man learns wisdom through humility,
knowledge by forgetting,
how to speak by silence,
how to live by dying.
-Johannes Tauler

Sunday, July 4, 2010

For the love of God

Now and then, I’ll think of something I would buy if I was living a normal life, things that “I could really use.” I thought maybe I’d start writing a list of all these things so that next year I would remember to buy them. A friend advised me against this and the more I’ve thought about it the more I realize the absurdity of such a plan. Honestly, Missy? If I need a list to remind me to buy something in six months, then it can’t be that critical of a belonging. It’s becoming a discipline, to stop myself from thinking, “I’ll buy that next year, when I’m allowed.” That is not what this is about! I haven’t made these rules and entered into this experiment to cage my shopping habits for a year, only to let them loose with wild abandon when the time of oppression comes to an end. No! This is deeper than that. I am seeking a change of heart and attitude, a platform for a greater perspective of poverty and hopefully, therefore, solidarity with those who are less fortunate. If I cannot recognize the value in all I have, the gifts God has already bestowed upon me and their full potential, and acknowledge that no material possession will ever make me more complete, then this year of commitment to a spirit of poverty is in vain. If I do not let this transform me totally, I will have done it for nothing.

I don’t do things for nothing. +


1 comment:

  1. With the introduction of mass production, common folk were able to join the elites in a formerly unique practice- buying a lot of things out of want rather than need.

    From a certain understanding, this is good. Buying out of want not only fuels our capitalistic system through purchasing, it fuels our system of production. We work hard; really hard; really really really hard. And for what? So we can save up to buy a reward, often one for the people we don't see b/c we're working so much.... ie, flat screen/a ski boat/devices for our children to use indoors on nice days/etc. This practice brings about double enslavement: we enslave ourselves through our work and pay back ourselves by becoming slaves to our possessions. Possessions become the reward, (or often times the excuse), for working as we do and sacrificing relationships.

    Having a list of things to buy six months hence is clearly an instance of want rather than need. But we all do it somehow. Most of us, including myself, have a home filled with crap we don't need. Look at the proliferation of self-storage places! Is anyone using that stuff?

    (The story behind the phrase "Indian Giver" comes to mind)

    I'm thinking about the list you brought up, and maybe the "shopping list" should only include things which brings you joy (not happiness) and brings you closer to God. And not necessarily in that order. I personally, I still want an I phone, but I'm not sure it will bring me either of these things.