Thursday, February 08, 2007

Success and Excess

Its been awhile since I wrote a blog, because I've sort of been mentally decompressing. Between getting back to work, and starting school, and thinking about all of this consumerism stuff. I've been chewing on the realization that our idea of success is maintaining the extreme poverty in this world.

I can't remember if it was in Hebrew Bible, or Gospel in a Consumer culture, but somewhere in the last couple weeks I learned that in the Bible abundance is measured by "enough-ness," whereas in our society we measure abundance in terms of excess. When the Bible talks about God providing abundantly, God is not talking about making people rich. God is talking about giving people what they need to survive. And the community that the Hebrew Bible describes is one in which the main instruments that God uses to feed people... are other people. In the Bible, farmers are obligated to leave part of the harvest for the poor, widows, orphans, and even travelers. When the Bible says "Thou shalt not steal," it isn't protecting private property, but guarding against the amassing of wealth that could be used to feed the poor.

When God provided manna in the wilderness, everyone was only allowed to gather what they needed for one day, and everyone had just enough. In churches we talk about how everything we have is God's, but still believe that what we've worked for should be spent the way we wish. Thinking about wealth in these Biblical terms is uncomfortable, but it is the only way we will ever defeat global poverty.

I am a big fan of Oprah, and I think she has done so much good in this world, but I often wonder how many more schools and houses would be built if she lived by John Wesley's rules, "Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can." Wesley lived on the same small annual sum for his entire life, even after he was earning much more. Barbara Walters recently interviewed Joel Osteen, and said, "You know, I like you because you believe that God wants us to be rich." I never had a strong opinion about Osteen until him agree with that statement. Material riches are not promised by God, and when blessings come, "To whom much is given, much is expected."


Blogger sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




11:39 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Megan: THank you for posting this. It is just what I needed to read this morning as I am preparing to preach on the Beatitudes.

6:30 AM  
Blogger B said...

Hey, we just talked about this at "girls' night out," but I'm gonna do it again, haha :D ...

"I've been chewing on the realization that our idea of success is maintaining the extreme poverty in this world."

Yeah, and I feel like it's part of an attitude (mostly American) of "not rocking the boat," or the philosophy that religion and God is all about comfort, reassurance, feeling good, being inspired, etc. Joel Osteen was on the documentary "Friends of God," too, and he said his church didn't talk about "serious" issues like gay marriage, abortion, global problems, etc. Granted, those can be really controversial and divisive, but everything he did talk about was very soothing and happy and, like you said, basically saying that God will make you rich and you'll live happily ever after.

That just seems like a really complacent philosophy to me that's not prophetic at all. Religion can be comforting, but it should primarily be a kick in the pants and a call to pursuing justice. But it's sad if that's not "attractive" enought to people.

9:50 PM  

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