Sunday, December 18, 2005

Things, Things, Things Everywhere but Nothing to Hug

In Sunday’s sermon, Rev. Gisher said:
Well we got a bunch of people out there right now that aren’t very happy, and some of them are Christians. Some people just keep trying to cram more and more gifts into that hole in their heart, and THEY JUST CAN’T SEEM TO FILL IT!
Out of his whole sermon, it was this one quote that hit home with me most. Why you may ask. I had spent many years of my life trying to cram more and more stuff into my life to fill that hole in my heart. A hole that seem, at times, to be bigger than the widest part of the Grand Canyon. Things, oh lovely things. Why? Why . . . things? Will a new shirt make me whole again? How about a new car or a new pair of shoes? A good hair cut? What? Why? I have come to believe that we are trained from an early age to be consumers and we have learned to exchange real relationships for relationships with things. Marx labeled this fetishism and whether you agree with his politics and economics or not, he was right about this process. Our identity is often intertwined with the things we own. And we are also judged by the things we own which reinforces this horrible cycle. For example, last year around this time, I went into a very expensive clothing store wearing some old jeans and a tee-shirt. I was looking for an especially nice gift for someone. The sales person came up to me and asked me what I was looking for. I told her and she smiled a plastic smile and suggested that I was in the wrong store. . . I wasn’t. We are often judged by our things as well. Take a moment and look at all the stuff you own and ask yourself, does it really make or break who you are? Does that new stereo system really help improve your relationship with your loved one? Does it get in the way? At night, when you are alone and lonely, does the plasma TV really comfort you? Can it hug you? Can it replace community? I am not saying that you should get rid of everything or that you should not buy that new phone you have been eyeing. What I am suggesting is that you try to place things into perspective. When you go to buy those new pair of shoes, ask yourself why? Why do you think you need them? What are the reasons behind the purchase? Are you buying because you feel empty or because you feel like you need to keep up with the Jones? Are you trying to be cool and up to date? Do you need them for work or just because you think they are neat? Knowing why, really why, you get the stuff you get is the first step to take and will help you see why and how you view things in relation to your life. When I finally understood how my need for certain things was not fulfilling my need for community, I started to reach out more and to embrace relationships around me with more passion and truth. I got involved. It is a worthwhile project. Wow, this is my hundredth post. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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