Category Archives: Consumerism

Transform Your Christmas

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What if you could transform Christmas? Would you?

As Christmas approaches many of us are asking the same questions. We’re no longer interested in the idea of buying for the sake of buying. We’re interested in discovering the redemptive meaning of Christmas.  Are our relationships deepening?  Are we stepping into what it means to love our neighbor in a restorative way?Are we giving of ourselves in a way that truly has value?

Americans spend an average of $450 billion on Christmas. That’s 1,485 dollars for every man, woman, and child in America.  And yet are we really experiencing the original meaning of Christmas?  To solve the world’s clean water problem would require only $10 billion dollars.  What that means is the problem is not only solvable, it’s easily within our reach.

We would like to extend an invitation to participate with us this year in transforming Christmas from purchasing and getting to really giving.  Our goal is simple: To transform Christmas by gathering families together and sacrificially purchasing as many wells as we can.

Advent Conspiracy and Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that has a long history of working with the poor and oppressed in the world. A well costs about $800 to repair or retrofit.  That’s less than the average spending per American to transform the life of a village. It costs about $2,500 to rehabilitate a non-working well and about $15,000 to drill a large well that serves a large village.

And we’re not asking you to just write a check on top of everything.  We’re asking you to consider working with us as a way of stepping into the deeper meaning of Christmas, a day when love entered the world in a profound way.  We’re asking you to consider giving sacrificially in place of the traditional mad rush of gift giving we typically do.

A brochure has been created to understand what we’re doing, invite friends to participate, dream bigger, and help transform the meaning of Christmas.

Donwload it here.

If you do participate, feel free to steal the banner from this post to spread the word.

Here’s the Advent Conspiracy Video – it’s really well done and worth the watch. (ht.)

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“Wall-E” better than Batman’s “Dark Knight?”

I didn’t think it was appropriate to take my four-year-old son to the new Batman movie “Dark Knight” (it was a close call though)…so instead, we journeyed over to watch Pixar Disney’s animated “Wall-E.”  

Wall-E truly is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.  If you care – you’ll leave caring even more – and if you don’t care, you’ll start to.  This movie fell right into my wheelhouse of what I’ve been going through this year.  How could a movie, for kids, about Robots, with all of 15 words said through the entire movie (of which not a single word was uttered for the first 25 minutes) keep anyone engaged, much less keep us on the edge of our seats?  It did so by tackling some incredibly hard truths regarding earth, life and purpose.  In about the year 2300, earth has become a desolate land filled entirely with skyscraper heaps of garbage…an abundance of garbage due to the overconsumption of the world.  Basically – it declares the exact place we’re headed if we keep living the way we’re all living.  It painfully depicts and plays right into what makes us tick at the heart of our culture.  All human existence has basically used up all of what the earth has to offer – and now lives in a mammoth quasi-cruise ship in space named the “Axiom.”  It cuts like a knife when you learn that the corporation that hosts this “new life” as “BnL” which stand for “Buy-Now-Large.”  It plays into consumerism really, really well.  I have no idea if anyone could leave the theatre without feeling uncomfortable…especially after holding our traditional 5-gallon buckets of popcorn and 64 oz sodas…it was great.  All of mankind on the ship is referred to as “Auto-Pilots” showing how we’ve all become so numb to real life, destined just to follow status quo living for our next purchase to satisfy our insatiable need to consume and gain for ourselves.  Humans live in moving recliners, served their every need by robots, never having to lift a finger for anything – becoming ever so blind to human touch, love and real life encounters.

All of this is taking place in the background, while Wall-E discovers something that everyone is in search for.  I don’t want to ruin the movie and tell you what it is – but it’s powerful.  It’s amazing what it is and even more amazing in what it symbolizes.  At one point, the captain of the perfect world Axiom ship, is given eyes to see and declares, “I don’t want to just survive anymore, I want to live.”  It was incredible.  I recently heard a quote that has played a part in shaping my recent existence that says, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”  We’re a people plagued by status quo.  We’re daunted by staying safe and self-protection.  We’re drowning in being conservative…rather than taking this world by storm – and turning it upside down.  We’re promised the Kingdom has come and is coming to earth – why don’t we start acting like it?  Why can’t we push each other and ourselves to the limits to bring about change and a fuller existence in life?  When do we realize status quo is directly from the world’s system and has nothing to do with the Kingdom or a higher life?  It’s Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” that says, “I don’t want to die without any scars.”  I’m finally starting to understand what he means.  I don’t either and I refuse to.  I’ve played it safe for too long.  Tyler just wants someone to punch him right in the face so he can actually “feel” something for once.  

We’re not called to drag this body through earth like a corpse until we “get to the other side.”  We’re called to be co-creators and dreamers with God.  Why aren’t you more excited to get up in the morning?  If this is true – why won’t tomorrow be the greatest day of your life?  It won’t be, because we’re going to do the same thing we did yesterday.  We won’t take any risks and we won’t take any chances.

We need to Dream Big.  We need to change and be transformed.  We need to live out the Really Real and turn the world upside down.  That doesn’t mean anything more than it affecting your own little world. That’s not a daunting task that seems impossible – because it truly just means your own little world, tomorrow.  The people around you, your co-workers, your job, your money, your kids, and your community.  

Wall-E brought to back to earth, life…at all costs.  At all costs.

As the credits come at the end of the movie, it ends with an amazing Peter Gabriel song, “Down to Earth” and the first line says, “Did you think that your feet had been bound by what gravity brings to the ground?”

Let’s not be a people defined by what grounds us – but rather by all the things that’s left to be imagined.  There’s a song we sing that says, “The only limit left for us is what we dare believe.”  

So what do we believe?  Status quo just barely making it through our day?  Or Life in abundance?

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I’m taking my ball and going home.

I have a four year old boy named Carson and a two year girl old named Josie. I’ve played catch with my son a lot thus far in his life…but never with Josie…until this weekend.  So the three of us – played catch together.  Josie is just now at the age physically that she is able to understand how the game works.  You know – I throw it to Carson…he throws it to her…and she throws it back to me.

All weekend long – the same thing would happen over and over again.  I’d throw it to Carson, he’d throw it to her…then…then…she’d just keep it.  She knew what she was supposed to do – but she couldn’t bring it to herself to give up the ball.  She just wouldn’t throw it back…she just couldn’t give it up.  She was so afraid that if she gave the ball up – she wouldn’t get it back.  She knew as soon as she threw the ball back to me…she was risking it not coming back to her.  What fun is it to give up the ball and have it not come back?  It’s not.
 
But what she didn’t realize…was that there was plenty of ball to go around.  There was more than enough to share.  There was more than enough to give it up…and have it come back to her.  I’m watching this happen and I become sad.  I’m sad because she was too worried about what she was losing that she missed all of the fun.  She was so concerned that the ball wouldn’t come back to her…that she missed the whole point of the game.
 
In other words – she was hoarding the ball.
 
So let’s think about this…having more than enough to go around…keeping more for yourself…never having enough…hmmm – something sounds familiar…
 
…I just can’t put my finger on it.
It’s great.  I’ll stop thinking about it – that way I don’t have to come up with an answer.

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“All I need”

This Radiohead video is a deeply moving comparison between two worlds.  Two worlds that until recently, I never knew existed.  Now that I know…and I can’t ignore it any longer.  For some, everything must change.  This video wrecked me.  As I watch, I see my own boy on left and contrast with so many others on the right.  I’m thankful…but then I realize – it’s not enough just to be “thankful” then move on about my day ignoring what I know.

The tension lies between a pair of shoes.  The point of the video?  The video ends with this line…“Some things cost more than you realize.”

(ht: C. Wess Daniels)

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Filed under Consumerism

Sometimes, the worst part of buying something…

…is the buying part.

Check out this very quick post by marketing guru Seth Godin.

I love Seth.  I read him and subscribe to him.  But this is the consumerism that scares me.  It all scares me, but the simplicity of this is unbelievable.

Buying never satisfies.  It’s the world’s most accepted form of Heroin.  Our economy is driven and actually measured by it.  We actually measure how “well” our economy is doing by its’ production and consumption.

Let’s, as a “called out people,” stop this hypnotic dance with the world.  How incredible and earth shaking would it be…if Christians started to recognize this trance of consumerism we’ve fallen into.  We’d suddenly not fit into this system very well would we?  Right now, we’re “okay.”  We’re accepted – actually we’re loved. Because we consume…a lot.  Everything must change. 

Tramps like us…

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I Can’t Stand It Anymore…

“Since 1913, the United States witnessed only one other year of such unequal wealth distribution — 1928, the year before the stock market crashed, according to Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.”

I wish this quote wasn’t true.  I wish I could post about how things in the United States were improving…that the gap between the wealthy and poor was diminshing – but it’s not.  It’s getting worse, much worse.

One of the leading hedge fund managers, John Paulson, made $3.7 billion dollars in 2007.  No typo here…it really is $3.7 billion…BILLION…in one year…for one man.  It’s 14 times more than Oprah Winfrey and 32 times more than Tiger Woods made last year!

Is the gap really widening?  The amount executives are making is 18 times more than they did in 2002.  It’s clearly widening.

If you can stomach it, click here for the full article.

The Tension: A year ago – I’d be defending these executives.  They work hard-They risk big-They deserve every penny they make.  But I can’t do it anymore.  This world’s system is all about “getting mine” no matter at whose expense.  As long as I get mine – it doesn’t matter if you “get yours.”  This is the ultimate in self-protection.  There is so much here.  This is what this blog is about.  How do we, as a called out people, operate completely in contrast to this world’s system?  A recent Barna study revealed that Christianity is so closely connected to consumerism that believers can barely be distinguished from the outside culture. “Barely” may even be a stretch.  We’ve got to look different. We’ve got to subvert this empire.  This is why I blog.  To share with you how I’m being transformed and to hear how each of you are being transformed.  How the decisions you’re making don’t make any sense to the world and even to the Christian system.  How your lives are being invaded and taken over by a new Kingdom culture…and to hear how instead of this being depressing…its actually the best thing that’s ever happened to you!!  

Please don’t be quiet any longer.  The world is listening.  Other disciples are listening.  We need to share and hear from each other.

How is the Kingdom culture invading your life?  How is your world being turned upside down?

 

 

 

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