Things I’ve learned from killing consumerism #12 – ‘Groceries’ is a broad word

I’m five weeks off the end of my no retail challenge. I think I’ve learned a fair bit. I’ve given up a lot, but I also know I’ve exploited a couple of loopholes.

This weekend I bought a tree – a mandarin tree. And yes, I justified it as groceries. I mean, that’s what it will ultimately turn into, right? What’s $40 now when in two years I’ll have all the free mandarins I want?20151025_170005

I do think it’s justifiable, but I could have tried harder. I could have found out how to cultivate a tree from cuttings (is that even possible?) or grow it from seeds. I guess that’s the difference between me doing this challenge as a challenge and doing it as a necessity.

I can look for loopholes and excuse myself for buying things under the banner of groceries. I really have no idea what it’s like to live pay check to pay check and not be able to afford a new dress. I’ve gone without by choice. I can’t presume to know what it’s like to go without by necessity.

I hope I’ve learned more discipline. I hope I’ve learned to live simply and not gratify my lust for shopping. But at the end of the day, I have to acknowledge, that really, I’m still a rich girl who can afford to look for loopholes.

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Jesus didn’t come from Burnside

Every city, I imagine, has their ‘posh’ and ‘derelict’ areas. In my city, one of the most stereotypically posh suburbs is Burnside. This is where housing prices exceed a million dollars, people drive Mercedes and shop at the ‘Burnside Village.’ Living in Burnside is a symbol of success.

About thirty kilometers to the north of Burnside lie a collection of suburbs with the worst reputations in the whole city. Rather than Mercedes and foie gras, these suburbs are stereotypically known for beat up Commodores, crime and drug abuse. There’s a lot of socioeconomic stigma surrounding the northern suburbs, as if not much good could come from there.beautiful-home-interior-picture-material_38-6251

The other day in Church, one of our pastors reminded us that people said that of Jesus’ home. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” they asked, surprised that the Messiah would originate from such a place. And it hit me: Jesus didn’t come from Burnside.

If my city took the place of ancient Israel, Jesus would have come from the northern suburbs. He came and dwelt amongst those who could most clearly see their need for him. He came to those who were broken. He came to give grace to the humble, and he opposed the proud.

It’s easy for the wealthy to imagine that Jesus would have been just like them. That he would have lived amongst them, and seen the world through their eyes. But He didn’t. He saw it through his Father’s eyes, and the father looked at the heart, not the suburb.