Sunday, August 8, 2010

Questioning the Norm

I have been struck so many times lately with the oddity of our way of life. I have to know if the way our society ever strikes anyone else as odd. Surely I am not the only one who stops to question what we call "normal". I know that most people just take for granted that the way things are is just how they are. I cannot look at things and practices and not question. Maybe it is the influence of the mountains of books I have read and the hours of documentaries I have watched. I do acknowledge that I am kind of an odd bird. I don't really enjoy reading fiction. I do like a good movie, but I am much more inclined to watch a couple of good documentaries. I am not so much interested in historical documentaries either unless they are tied to some current event and used to explain why something is the way it is. I am not interested in history just for the sake of history. I am interested in the path that has lead up to some current event. I have some friends that think it is really quite strange. When I asked my husband about it, he said, "It really pretty much matches your temperament and way of thinking." I am a very literal and concrete individual. I want to know what the benefit of something is before I will consider it. For example, I am not inclined to take a day of rest just for the sake of taking a day of rest. I have, however, begun to take one b/c it makes me more productive and able to function better during the rest of the days. Increased productivity and efficiency is a good reason to take a day to rest.
Anyway, so my husband and I took a day to hang out yesterday for his birthday. We ate lunch, saw a movie and walked around the mall. As we walked around the mall which was incredibly packed with people, I was just struck with how odd our lifestyle in America is. If we take the "norm" out of the framework of "America", it is odd. How strange is it that we have buildings that are blocks long full of rows and rows of things to buy. There is store after store of merchandise competing for our our dollar. Generally, we don't make or produce anything. We go into a store and buy off the rack one of dozens of the exact same versions of shirts, skirts, pants, shoes, whatever. We have lost the sense of accomplishment of making something with our hands. We don't exercise the creativity that God breathed into us when He created us. Our whole economy is built on getting the consumer to consume. It is all about getting my dollar from me. If we don't spend, we go into a recession. Millions of people have a job that is totally motivated by getting the consumer to spend. They don't make anything, repair anything, grow anything. Their sole responsibility is selling. Eventually this has to lead to an economic collapse. Surely we cannot continue to function in this manner. And the producers of products have to keep us thinking that we must have these things or we won't spend money. If there were to be a shift in giving to those in need, funneling the resources to those who really need them, it would cause a collapse. If we wake up and start seeing that we don't need the newest gadget or this seasons clothing as bad as the orphans in Africa need to be cared for, or the widows need food, or the slaves need us to fight for their freedom, or the millions who have no access to clean water need water, then what would happen. The country goes into a recession and we lose our jobs, then we have no resources. It's like this huge never ending cycle of the "haves" consuming and the "have nots" continuing to suffer. Maybe we need a total economic collapse so we can start over and try it differently. Greed, covetousness and idol worship riddle our land. We don't bow to golden calves anymore; we bow to Apple, Coach, MAC, Prada, "big house", nice car..... we bow to the God of self. We grab at whatever we desire with no thought about what we really need and how we could use our excess to impact the desperate and dying. We consume and consume and consume. Everything we buy is individually packaged for convenience. So we throw billions of pounds of waste into the world so we don't have to work quite as hard to feed ourselves. We use billions of gallons a year at water parks so we can be entertained. We use who knows how much electricity at theme parks, movie theaters, bars, and gaming venues. Why? So we can be entertained. So we can keep ourselves from thinking about the emptiness inside of us. So we don't have time to stop and think about the fact that we are chasing a vapor that we will never be able to get our hands on. We don't want to question the way we live or whether we should be a little less extravagant so that we could use the resources God has given us a little wiser. I have not even touched on the fact that the rows and rows of products on display for us to buy are made elsewhere in the world and shipped in for us to buy. And to make that even worse those laborers who produce the merchandise do not even really benefit from the production. If they get paid at all, it is not a fair wage. Many times our merchandise is being manufactured using slave labor, but we don't want to know that. As long as we don't ask where it comes from, then we don't have to feel guilty for the part we play in the whole mess.
I am sorry if this was not a chipper or easy post to read, but I cannot keep quiet any more. It blows my mind to really think about how we operate and further blows my mind that so few people even stop to question or see it as odd. We don't grow our food anymore, we go to the store where rows and rows of packages food competes for our dollar. There are men and women who are paid huge salaries to develop marketing strategies to get us to buy certain products. They are using the same techniques that the serpent used on Eve. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Read it 1 John 2:16

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (New King James)

1Jonn 2:15-17
Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (the Message)

Genesis 3:6 (New King James)
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Just a little extra food for thought when you are being marketed to. Remember where it comes from. They have learned from the father of lies himself. He was the first marketing agent.

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