Consumer Confessions

Michael Toy offers some great thoughts and a confession on consumerism, the Church, and America – and himself. Surely this could be any of us. Maybe.

Waste Not, Want Not – Chris Jordan Photo Series

I ran across this photo series thanks to Tony Jones. While we are debating the effects of a stimulus package, health care reform, and the environment. How about a respite for some photo reality. Could it be we consume ourselves to a fault? And then, we wonder, “How did we get here?”

Sharing the Consequences of Our Love of Stuff

I remember Black Monday. We lived in Dallas. We had not money to invest. We did not lose anything in Black Monday. My mentor talked about the effects of that day. No one wants to lose money so when the market “crashed” there was plenty of mourning. It is interesting we refer to a positive day as “black.” Yet, each year we treat the day after Thanksgiving with such shopping reverence we lift retailers from their doldrums.

This year we see the inevitable consequences of the madness. Black Friday will now be an idiom of double entrende. Retailers – 1, Life – 0. Leonard Pitts Jr offers the following thoughts closing out a very poignant piece,

But it’s not just our common vulnerability to mob psychology that ties the rest of us to last week’s tragedy. It is also our common love of stuff. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a starker illustration of our true priorities. Oh, we pay lip service to other things. We say children are a priority, but when did people ever press against the door for Parents’ Night at school? We say education is a priority, but when did people ever bang against the windows of the library? We say faith is a priority, but when did people ever surge into a temple of worship as eagerly as they do a temple of commerce?

No, sale prices on iPods, that’s our true priority. Jdimytai Damour died because too many of us have bought, heart and soul, into the great lie of American consumerism: acquiring stuff will make you whole. ”You, Happier,” is how a sign at my local Best Buy puts it. As if owning a Jonas Brothers CD, an Iron Man DVD, a Sony HDTV, will elevate you to a level of joy otherwise impossible to attain. Hey, you may be a total loser, may not have a friend, may not have an education, may not have a job, may not have a clue, but it will all be OK as soon as you get that new Canon digital camera, especially if you get it for 50 percent off.

Reason to Re-Think Consumerism

We have been suggesting people re-consider Black Friday and the whole consumeristic atmosphere around Christmas. Touting the Advent Conspiracy, Heifer International among other options we want to subvert this kind of tragedy.

(HT: Michael via Twitter and Mark)