Saturday, February 24, 2007

Living in a Throwaway Culture

One of the effects of mass consumerism is the increasing amount of disposable stuff available for purchase. And truthfully, I like some of it. Stuff like razors, cameras (non-digital), paper plates/cups are inexpensive to use and sometimes more convenient. The idea is to simply buy-it-use-it-throw-it-away. Even items like DVD players and vacuum cleaners are no longer built to last more than a couple of years of steady use.

LL Barkat who blogs at Seedlings in Stone has a wonderful post, lamenting (in a good sense) the throwaway culture we live in. LL is challenging us to think of what it means to import this throwaway mentality to other parts of our lives.

This throwaway approach isn't always positive when we adopt it in other areas of life. Here's what it could translate to:

Relationships - It's easier to throwaway a friendship and start anew, instead of working through conflict biblically.
Church - It's easier to do the "church hop" dance rather than stay and build community together.
Job - It's easier to quit when the going gets tough, rather than persevere through the difficult times.
Neighborhoods - It's easier to move to another instead of working to improve the environment.

The privileges of modern life afford us choices and accessibility unimaginable to people living a couple hundred years ago. For instance, the mobility we have as individuals and families means that if you don't like winters in Chicago, you can just move to Florida. Most of this is benign, I think, but LL may be onto something.

Sometimes, staying put, laboring where you're planted and building something of lasting legacy is exactly what God wants for us.

5 comments:

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, Great post.

Yes, it's endemic in our culture. And we hardly think twice.

I especially like the point that we so easily toss what is difficult for us. All things worthwhile have their challenging aspects. It's so easier to move on and think the grass is greener on the other side. But we never grow up that way. (notwithstanding that there is a time to pull the plug. though not in our relationships)

Thanks.

andre said...

Ted,

Thanks for your comment. This post really piggy backs on LL's posts on the topic. I like how LL has surfaced aspects of our modern life with our "all you can eat" ethos and also the "throwaway" ethos.

It is true that one of the aspects of modern life is that we have choices but just because we can choose to leave a less than ideal situation, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

What keeps you persevering in your church or job when things get tough?

L.L. Barkat said...

Andre, in your comment to Ted you have hit on something that is quite close to my heart at the moment... "just because we can choose to leave...doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."

I think of David in the cave with Saul. The door was "open" for David to kill Saul and fulfill the promise. David's men saw the choice as a perfect opportunity to fulfill God's plan. But David declined.

Craver VII said...

Can I just add an amen to what LL said?

andre said...

LL,

The biblical example you offered (David passing up the oppty to kill Saul) is rich. David's restraint is otherworldly - it speaks volumes of trusting in God to fulfill the promise rather than taking it prematurely. I wonder about applying that principle when we assess crucial decisions in our lives. Or do we make decisions on the basis of pragmatism or immediate gain?

Craver, thanks for your amen!