I don’t ever wanna be caught on the wrong side

When I read the Gospels, why do I automatically assume that I belong alongside Peter, or that I would have been Mary Magdalene? Why do I rarely see myself in the Pharisees or the Rich Young Ruler?

Yesterday in church I was convicted to examine my life. What do I value? What am I pursuing? I saw so clearly the allure of worldly things, which easily captivate my heart. I saw how self-righteous I am in my judgement of how the world should be – what is good or right. I saw how proudly I stood amongst a multitude of people who defined success, then boasted in their achievements.double-exposure-illustration-woman-with-city-in-her-hat_1020-442

I saw a great battle line drawn. On the right were those who were glamorous, popular, wealthy and so successful that they are proud to define themselves by material things. And I saw myself with them, desiring to be one of them, pursuing the things they loved. And then I looked to the other side, to those who were poor and lowly, and cared not for this world. And Jesus was on the other side.

How often do I claim to be a follower of Jesus, then busy myself with things that are not on His agenda? How often do I scorn things he loves, or delight in things he hates? When he comes back I sure don’t want to be caught swanning around in Prada shoes and sequins, or clamouring wildly up the corporate ladder, so I’d better stop pursuing them.

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Turn off your lights so you can see

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Do you ever wonder what a person from 200 years ago would think if you just plonked them down in the middle of one of our cities?

Sometimes as I’m driving along I’m struck by the absurdity of the world I live in – a world that would surely be incomprehensible to people only three or four generations before me.

The concrete jungles that fall like a perfectly normal backdrop for our existence have, in reality, only existed in the last 100 years.

As we march forward, proudly carrying the greatest of human progress, I wonder if we have failed to stop and look for what we can no longer see. We’ve replaced so much of what is natural for what is artificial and many of us have lost God in the process.

It does not astound me that atheism’s unprecedented growth has coincided with the industrial revolution. Humanity cannot find God in his creation because they are blinded by the glory of their own creation. As I drive through the city my vision is dominated by cars and roads and buildings and power lines and paths and lights and planes and clothes and shoes and fences and windows… and suddenly man is the creator.

If only we would turn off our fluorescent bulbs for a second, we might be able to see beyond ourselves; to see that before we had covered the earth with our creations, far superior creations existed, and they must have come from somewhere.

Things I’ve learned from Killing Consumerism #8 – Consuming makes the world go ’round?

In general, when people have asked me about my non-shopping project this year, they’ve been somewhat impressed. I get lots of questions about how hard it is and what I do and don’t buy and how I’m coping.

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This question, over lunch one Sunday, was a new one:

‘But doesn’t our economy rely on consumerism?’

Now that, I hadn’t thought of.

If westerners, presumably the largest consumer body in the world, ceased to consume to the same excessive extent that we do, would our economies, or even the economies of many poorer countries that support our habits, collapse?

Has the world become reliant on our greed and excess?

I don’t know. But it doesn’t really worry me for two reasons:

  1. I don’t see a large-scale departure from our consumerist ways, and
  2. I think it’s more of a moral issue than an economic one.

Greed and gorging on excess is something that should probably prick the conscience of any moralist. I think we can all afford to depart from excessive consumerism on moral grounds, and leave the economy to God.

After all, when a country sticks to God’s moral law, things tend to go pretty well.

Go figure.

I Wish the World Were Black and White

border-fence_19-136576I wish the world were black and white

Because I like compartments and squares and boxes.

I like to know what is what and where is where, and which side you’re on and which side I’m on.

I like to control and segregate, and separate and articulate.

I like to say black is black and white is white and wrong is wrong, and right is right

and you can be either one or the other.

I want to say ‘I’m whiter than you’ or ‘you’re blacker than me’ but at the end of the day, let’s face it I’m grey.

And I want the world to be black and white, but I want it to be gracious to me while I’m grey.

So perhaps I should return the favour.

When the world gets stifling…

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I have a lot of things on my mind at the moment. Nothing major, just all together they start to add up. I find my mind spinning with plans, agendas, moral issues and sometimes fears.

My mind is so busy, that it’s time to stop for a minute and think about some things that I love; the simple things; the things that are still there when all the busyness fades away.

Today I’m thinking about the night sky. Living in the city I don’t always get to see it in all it’s glory, but it makes it all the more special when I get out into the country and lie in a field and become captivated by the vastness of the sky. I love to drink in the millions of stars and the complexity of the universe.

Somehow the more complex the natural world appears, the less complex my life seems, because it reminds me that I have a God who holds it all in His hands.

My life and its complications will fade away, but my ability to wonder over and delight in the complexity of God will live on for an eternity.

So, when the world gets stifling, it’s often time to look beyond. Beyond our politics and selfishness and general humanity, beyond time even, beyond this world to the eternity that we are to live for. And if eternity had a face, for me, it would look like the night sky.

Who Tells the Creators of Technology When to Stop?

I’ll admit it. I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to being glued to my phone. Yes, I’m distressed when I look around at a group of friends out to dinner and see them all on their phones, but what can I say? I do it too.

What really gets me though is that I know I don’t need it. Somewhere, deep in a drawer, is my old Nokia 3315. Gosh I loved that phone. It did everything I needed it to, and for years I refused to upgrade, until eventually I did, because everyone had, and somehow that created a need.7261754de66a72c34aa64c7e5cb41d26-red-technology-background

Technology changes lives, saves lives and improves lives, but like many things that can be used for good, it can also be just plain bad.

Companies, driven by the desire for money and success, create, improve and reinvent. And like lemmings we lap it up. We pour out our hard earned cash to buy the newest thing, because it’s new.

We don’t need it, but the very fact that everyone buys it creates a need.

There is no accountability; no one who looks at new technology and asks: Will this be truly beneficial for society in the long run? They just create and we consume.

Could we be lining our graves because we follow without thinking, people who are creating without thinking, and there is no one to tell them when enough is enough?