2 -- I am what I own – Am I really? I am God’s child, and beloved by God. That’s my truest identity. What I own is just possessions, not me.
3 -- More is better – But we only have so much room in our homes and lives. Too many possessions to keep track of and too many activities only stress us out.
4 -- Convenience is extremely important – but when convenience trumps care for our world and each other, disaster often strikes. There are thousands of examples, but remember the garment factory in Bangladesh that collapsed in April 2013? That disaster can be linked to greed and the North American desire for inexpensive clothing made offshore where we usually don't see the impacts of poor labour conditions.
5 -- I’ve gotta be on the cutting edge – Do I really? Will I die if I don’t have the latest gimmick or gadget?
6-- Every person is an island – Consumer culture wants us to think this way so we all have our very own snowblower. But cooperation, sharing and interdependence cut consumerism out of the way we go about meeting our needs.
7 -- The earth is for my use – It says so in the first chapter of the bible, doesn’t it? Genesis 1: 26 "Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
8 -- I deserve the best – This sense of entitlement is huge. "I deserve a Mexican vacation." But if God loves everyone as much as God loves me, then we're all entitled to equal shares of God's love. I don't think Mexico has room for all of the nearly 7.3 people on the planet to go for a tropical vacation...
There are hundreds of possibilities. Most of the one's I've chosen to list here have to do with ways that God might be calling me to declutter my interior and exterior life so that I can see and hear what I’m called to do as God’s beloved.
And how often do we think about where our food is coming from? I’d like to suggest, as a Lenten practice, to start a little pot of herbs that can grow on a windowsill. By planting a little basil or oregano, we can observe and appreciate God’s work of making things grow, and we can participate in the production of a little bit of food, from soil to table. I like to grow sandwich sprouts all winter. And maybe it would be a good time to try a few more vegetarian meals, because animal products cost our planet much more than vegetables.
These are just a few possibilities, twenty minutes worth, really, that I shared with a small group at church. I'll bet you can think of hundreds more. The bottom line is that we only need "enough" to live a happy life, and that really, simplifying our lives is what makes room for the love that satisfies our deepest needs.
As St. Teresa of Avila liked to say, God alone fills us.