I was watching Bill Maher this week in tiny increments between paper writing as I nibbled on a sandwich. One of his guests was Jimmy Kimmel, who I, if I may speak openly, do not care for too much. Normally, Bill’s guests are asked questions about pressing issues of the day, but Kimmel was asked about television industry decisions and celebrity news. In particular, Kimmel was asked about Gwyneth Paltrow and her more-fabulous-than-thou shopping blog, goop. It seems that every week, Gwyneth tells her fans what to buy and make and do that will make their lives into hers – minus Chris Martin’s soothing, melancholy, triumphant piano ballads. That costs extra. I was not really aware of this fount of wisdom. I knew that people loved to hate her, but I wasn’t entirely sure why. So I’m looking at goop now and, I have to say, I do want her life. I mean, I don’t have a lot of use for a grey (British spelling! So sophisticated!) Corsica bikini or an exclusive eisha (I don’t know what that word means! So sophisticated!) kids romper and I am heartbroken that the extra large nest bowl in wasabi is out of stock, but I pop over to the recipe section my life feels back on track. I now know what I should cook: parmesan polenta and grilled radicchio wedge, plus some lentil “meatballs” for Dixon. I might be joking, but I’m not really. Her life does seem fabulous. And I love stuff. I love my Dyson DC-17 Animal vacuum cleaner, bought with my first poker tournament winnings. But now I see they have a DC41 Animal Complete, which sounds so much better and now I’m sad. 🙁 I love the Vitamix blender that Lisa bought despite my skepticism about green smoothies, which turn out to be delicious! The Vitamix makes all the sauces that y’all devour on Wednesday nights, but I would make even if you weren’t there because it is so easy to throw food in the Vitamix and blend. Stuff makes my life better. It really does. I’m sure of it. Definitely sure.
So it is with some trepidation that I come into this week of Jubilee. At the heart of the Jubilee ethic is a theology of enough, a trust that God has provided enough. And it is only when we trust in God’s provision that we have the courage to share and ensure that everyone will have enough. As I consistently demonstrate, that is easier said than done.
A couple of weeks ago, we considered what kind of people our economic system forms us into. This week, we will come from the other side and think about who we are in our relationship with money and consumption and, well, stuff. What is it that drives us to want? Who do we think we will become when we acquire? And what are the consequences? What systems are created out of our fears, doubts, and desires?
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center as we discuss the role of personal sin – fears, doubts, and desires – in systems of power.
Grace & Peace,
As my marketing professor once told me, comparison is the source of all unhappiness.