Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It all goes back in the box?

It all goes back in the box. But where does the box come from, and where does it end up?

In response to the man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance, Jesus warned the man to, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." (Luke 12.15) Then Jesus went on to tell the story about the landowner who built bigger and bigger barns only to discover that his dream of a luxurious retirement was cut short. The point of the story, according to Jesus, was this is how it is for those who store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God.

Do we have enough stuff? How much is enough? Is there never any end to this rat race? Do you ever wonder how we get all our stuff and where it ends up? And, why does it seem we have to keep buying more and more? The image below is a link to an interesting website that has been getting a lot of play. The brief film on the website is simplistic, but it will provoke you to think about the consequences of our consumer culture in a global economy.


joe schorsch said...

I work in step 3 the "Big Box Mart" I don't see all of the downside where I work. We have started an ecofriendly initiative and have reopened a factory in the US that was closed due to the previous Big Box Mart moving it over seas. We pay better than some Bog Box Marts but alot of costs are externalized. And CONSUMPTION is the name of the game - but you can get 12 months no payments, no interest. We are all about stuff but would we really pay what things are "worth"? I pay as much but receive less? That's almost unAmerican. (Flag waving and mortgages foreclosing and all)

Have a great day.

Sue Diehl said...

First of all, I think it's pathetic that I had to use a laptop that's almost two years old to watch the Story of Stuff video. It's embarrassing. The laptops that are out now are so much nicer!

The video gave me an opportunity to think about how consumerism has impacted my life. For one thing, I'm thankful that I still have this laptop! Last fall it died on me. We took it to a Certain Unnamed Electronics Store to be looked at. The guy at the counter barely looked at it before he pronounced it Dead on Arrival and told us to buy a new one. Fortunately, Barry Borowski also worked at the Certain Unnamed Electronics Store. He fixed it and presented us with a bill that looked really good compared to the price of buying a new one. It amazes us how easily the other guy was willing to throw my laptop in the trash.

I think about consumerism when I look at all the new housing plans. How come the families are getting smaller, and the houses are getting so much bigger? Don't people build three bedroom ranches any more?

I've also seen where consumerism has had tragic consequences. Last summer, I took a friend's child to Children's Hospital for X-rays. While I waited, I made conversation with another mother who was waiting for her child to be seen. She told me her child needed X-rays because while he was walking home, six guys had jumped him and beat him up. The reason? They wanted his expensive shoes!

Last week I learned of an even more tragic consequence of consumerism. A friend called to tell me that on Good Friday one of our ex-coworkers had been shot dead in an apparent hit leaving behind a wife and three daughters. My friend and I reflected on how this guy had a great personality and had been so well-liked. At the same time, it always had seemed "interesting" that although we all made about the same money, he could buy stuff that the rest of us couldn't buy. He had the best clothes, and he had a gleaming new sports car. And his motorcycle was so beautiful. Now it saddens me so much that at 40 years old he paid for all that stuff with his life. Didn't he realize that the fact that everyone liked him had nothing to do with his stuff?