Tag Archives: consumerism

how prayer works…by someone who should know

'You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works." Pope Francis:

Praying for the hungry means feeding the hungry. Pope Francis has it right. This is how prayer works. Caring enough to pray for the hungry means little if our compassion isn’t deep enough to lead us to action.

We can, and we should, end hunger in the next 15 years. Working together we can change the world forever. Praying for the hungry is necessary to make it happen. Feeding the hungry is necessary to make it happen. Changing our values and our consumer-oriented and our wasteful lifestyles are all also necessary.

The key to ending hunger in our lifetime is taking action. We just need to care enough to act.

one rich little girl

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We live in a world infected by a viral consumerism that threatens our very survival. Here is a powerful antidote.

Less is more. Believe it. More stuff is not the answer.

True joy is not, and can never be, measured in larger bank accounts or the things that money can buy. True joy, comes from loving, giving and serving. True wealth is measured in caring and sharing.

help me understand…

In a world of growing violence, a world where hatred, bitterness and vengeance seems to rule, we need to be aware that are values are shaped by what we see and absorb. It might be “just entertainment” but it’s impact on us is only too real.

frugality is a beautiful word

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet it is one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumptive society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. — Elise Boulding

We live in a world obsessed with acquisition and consumerism. It’s an obsession that pervades every aspect of our lives.

In a world where more is better and “super-size it” is a way of life even a mention of frugality seems awkward and out of place. Yet Boulding is absolute correct when she points out that there is a far deeper happiness, even a true joy, in not having things.

The more material possessions we have, the more our life is controlled by them. We actually become the possessed rather that the possessor.

True joy can never be achieved through more stuff. Trust me on this. It is just never going to happen.

Here’s an easy challenge. Go through your closet and take out two or three shirts/blouses that you haven’t worn in a year (or three). Do the same with just a couple pair pants that you know no longer fit. Throw in a couple pair of old shoes you know you are never going to wear. Give them away.

Not only will someone in need benefit from your donation, you will experience the joy of giving. You will also have a little more room in your closet.

Repeat the challenge until you are comfortable with the idea that less is really more, and that frugality is indeed a beautiful word.

the perfect stillness

It’s always a mystery to me how our consumeristic society can so quickly and easily turn something so beautiful into something so profitable. Valentine’s Day is a case in point.

In three days we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. And all of us know what that means. For anyone with a spouse, partner, or significant other, the day “mandates:”
A. an expensive (and for full credit) sentimental card
B. a box of fancy chocolates
C. at least a dozen red roses
D. a nice dinner (preferably at a restaurant of note)
E. jewelry or (in extreme cases)
F. all of the above

Cash registers across the country are singing their happy song! How much can we be guilted into spending to insure that special someone really knows how much we care?

What never ceases to amaze me, however, is how completely we have bought into this mindless “spend to prove you love me” orgy. Love is not about roses, or even chocolates, no matter how decadently delicious they might be. While giving thoughtful gifts to those we love is never out of season, poor Saint Valentine is surely rolling over in his grave at the way we profane his day.

I’ll talk more about the saint in my next post, but for now I just want to close with a poem from one of the most influential female saints in Islam. Her name is Rabia of Basra, and she lived around 717-801. She is another of my favorite poets. The poem is entitled THE PERFECT STILLNESS.

Love is
the perfect stillness
and the greatest excitement, and most profound act,
and the word almost as complete
as His name.