Saturday, May 30, 2009

Conspicuous consumer

I think I need to start my postings with an appropriate spiritual verse to center my thoughts properly. So I need to stop here until I find one that's appropriate. Oh yes! I remember now what verse has been going through my head today.

Today's centering verse: "Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

It is so ironic that I was waxing rhapsodic about living with less. We used our clothes line last weekend, and I was thrilled! We disconnected our cable TV; I feel empowered. We had way too many cucumbers from the garden and gave a bunch to our neighbors. Free, abundant food that we grew!

Now, just today, we have decided to go on a cruise. Talk about cognitive dissonance! Where does that fit in to this "less is more" lifestyle?? All I can say is that when someone has a major, unplanned career change, life gets topsy-turvy for a while.

We are visiting the Caribbean, again, on our first cruise. (A picture of Cancun, which we visited over Thanksgiving, is posted below.) I know many people who have taken cruises, most notably to Alaska, and I've always thought, "Wow, that sounds so incredibly fun!" So why am I feeling guilty now that we are the ones going?

Maybe it's because I was just talking with Karen about how Americans are such conspicuous consumers of everything. We have the biggest houses and cars and are the biggest meat eaters, the biggest around the waist, and the major energy hogs of the world. God only help us if the rest of the world becomes more like us, as seems to be happening. I hope as we recover from this global recession (caused primarily by Americans stopping their spending) that we become a bit more prudent and learn to conserve our resources and money.

I just read in National Geographic about the billions of people who are suffering on this planet, and the unbelievable fact that so many people are starving. Remember the Malthusian Doctrine (maybe you need a reminder too): population grows geometrically, while food grows arithmetically, so unchecked population growth will far exceed the supply of food. Of course, this seems so silly. If everyone just had a small garden, it seems obvious that there would be plenty of food to go around. And if everyone had enough water (no droughts or deserts) and fertilizer, and there was world peace so the gardens could be tended and not destroyed, or the people driven away from them ... so maybe it's not quite that simple.

We had a travel agent helping us book this cruise, and she kept talking about all the food on the cruise ship. Of course, that's one of the big draws: free food, 24 hours a day. If you've ever experienced this kind of vacation, perhaps you remember how sickening food can be after a while if you overindulge. And it's so hard to practice moderation when surrounded by immoderate quantities. Humans don't need unlimited amounts of food. In fact, it's terrible for our bodies and souls. So why is this such a huge perk for many vacationers?

It does not add up: cruise ships offering obscene amounts of food while people in Africa and elsewhere don't even get enough protein and fat to nurse their children.

Can I enjoy this vacation or will I be too busy flagellating myself for even daring to go? Don't worry, I will somehow manage a way to have fun! But this guilt is telling me something, and I will not ignore it.

Are all my posts going to be big downers? I guess they will be if they need to be! I want the kingdom of heaven to be realized on earth, now -- and it sure ain't here yet.

1 comment:

  1. Please feel free to post a comment. Good, bad, or ugly, as long as it's the truth as you see it!


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