Monday, December 31, 2007

Conspicuous Consumption as a Spiritual matter

"The conspicuous consumption of limited resources has yet to be widely accepted as spiritual error or even bad manners." --Barbara Kingsolver

Consumption is a question of faith. No really. God is a good God. A God of abundance. A God who provides for God's creation. And so, as God is a God of abundance, or even simply a God of enough, then all those who are a part of God's world should also have enough. But they don't. There are people going hungry. People who don't have potable water. People do not have enough. And then there are others of us that have WAY too much. We have far more than enough. So there's an imbalance. But the imbalance isn't God's doing. The imbalance is our

If you are living in the US, then you are part of the 5% of the world's population that consumes some crazy portion of the world's resources (at least 5 times your share). More than likely you eat what you want, when you want. Just like me, you can have oranges in February or Asparagus in September. You have watermelon in June and Spinach in December. You can walk into almost any major super market and find *fresh* fruits and vegetables to cover your table without much thought of where it came from or what it cost (in fuel or human labor) to get there.

I would say most of us live unconsciously about when we're eating what and how that might be problematic in the larger scheme of things. Or where it comes from. Here's an interesting fact for you: "in our nation we export 1.1 million tons of potatoes, while we also import 1.4 tons." Did you get that??? That's almost an equal exchange. We're trading potatoes for potatoes. That's not smart. That's not, "you have grain and I have citrus, let's trade and we can live more healthily. That's I've got a potato, and you've got a potato, so let's spend a boat-load of money, box 'em up, throw chemicals on them so they last, pay some big money to a CEO and another chunk of change to oil companies for the fuel expended, and then we can each have a potato. That's so silly.

And as long as we're spending serious money moving food around the world, so we can eat what we had in the first place, then we're not spending money simply providing food (or crops, or seeds, or water, or farming techniques) to those who need it. And that my friends, is poor stewardship. Quite frankly, it's sinful. And I'm guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty. But as my good friend S says, "Your guilt doesn't do me any good. Tell me when you're gonna do something." My guilt about irresponsible consumption doesn't do the poor, starving of the world a dang bit of good....not until it converts into concrete action, and sacrifices about what I eat and when I eat it.

I have the feeling this is going to be one of those "it's easier said than done" things, but I'm gonna work at it, and let you know how the progress goes.

Here's two shopping tips in the meantime:
1) Buy locally (at a Farmer's market, or ask your grocer which foods they get locally)
2) Buy organic foods....they don't use the pesticides and chemicals, which means they probably can't come from as far b/c they don't have chemicals to delay the decay process...
doing. And as such, we have a responsibility to set it right.

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