Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Culture of Greed

This idea has been ruminating in my mind for awhile. Today watching a television commercial with my 3 year old I am reminded to explore it some more.

The commercial featured a girl with beautiful long wavy hair. She was dreaming she was a rock star, dancing about on a stage, waving her long locks. Then the commercial promised rock star hair with this certain shampoo product in a purple bottle. Grace was a little mesmerized with the commercial and then demanded to be a rock star. She was even able to articulate that if she put the purple stuff in her hair she'd be a rock star. Wow! Advertising does work. She was a little upset when I told her we wouldn't be purchasing the 'purple stuff'.

Why do we 'lust' and crave so much stuff? We live in a culture of greed and want. Advertisements, the 'American dream', even our government encourage us to buy and spend and want and strive for a 'better' life being a consumer. I've been to cultures where this is not prominent. People aren't concerned about having the newest and the best. Are these people lacking? Actually, in my experience, they seem more content. In these places more 'real' concerns are to be worried about, housing, pay checks, food, a fallen government, violence, to name a few.

Can you imagine, we live in a place where for the most part we are well dressed, well fed, sheltered, and relatively safe on a day to day basis with a functioning government. Yet, we are still unhappy people. Probably because we don't see what we do have because we're too busy looking at things we don't have. We don't appreciate our current wardrobe because the clothes in the store are so much more trendy and well, we all need to fit in with the style of the hour. What about our home? (I'm all for having a cozy, functioning, beautiful home.) How much stuff do we bring into it trying to make our days easier, more beautiful and cozier with those 'cheap fixes' and mass produced items. Six months later there's no emotional attachment or purpose, and well, really it sits there now ugly, taking up space and needs to be replaced. Ok, I'm being kinda extreme here, but only to make my point.

What if we lived in a culture of gratitude? What if there was no one telling us we were lacking in any way, no commercials promising rock star status or underarm deodorant promising true love? What if we were thankful for what we have and really considered every craving or desire and evaluated thoroughly why we want it or feel we need it.

Isn't the Christian culture supposed to be a place of gratitude? Does not Jesus remind us not to worry about what we'll wear? I'm pretty amazed at how this 'gratitude' theme is spreading throughout north American Christendom. I have a few friends now tell/write that they are being more thankful. Also, Ann at Holy Experience and her Gratitude Community. What will happen if gratitude flowed through us and we pointed to God for blessings in our lives? What if we stopped craving/lusting after silly things and focused our attentions on 'real' matters such as poverty, the countless children and women who are sold into sex slavery, or the boys who are forced to be warriors, or....well you get my point. Who is wanting to redirect our attention from God and His people, and the blessings and the potential blessing we can be in this world? Only the evil one, and those who stand to make a profit from our 'wanting'.

First step, be a person of gratitude. Instead of saying 'I want..." saying "I have...I am so thankful!" I'm sure I'll then have more time and energy and money to help those in real need.

Ah, but this is counter cultural, and it is going to be difficult. Spirit lead me.

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