Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts


Less is More

Even though I'm a bit belated with updating you, our journey through 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess has continued. A quick summary to catch you up on our mutiny thus far:

Month 1: We pray seven times a day and take the Sabbath seriously. This actually causes us to bald and don robes, essentially making us monks. We eventually give up the monastic life because we hear they don't have Internet.

Month 2: We only eat seven foods for a month. My foods: rice, black beans, fish, peanut butter, spinach, pears, and coffee. My wife's foods: rice, black beans, spinach, apples, bananas, oatmeal, and almonds. By the end of this month, we crave anything and everything that is and isn't edible. We will never do that again (insert foot in mouth).

This brings us to Month 3, which we recently completed. Compared to Month 2, Month 3 was a walk in the park. We chose to don only seven pieces of clothing. This caused us to look like one of two things: bums or college students. Turns out we looked just about the same as usual.

Now I know what you're thinking: seven pieces of clothing for a month straight?! Crazy talk. Personally, I thought it sounded a little weird, too, but as long as I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted, I was okay with doing just about anything.

So we went about our month, wearing only seven clothes, which, thanks to the summer that briefly visited us in March, was relatively painless. I was only caught in the rain without a jacket once. And I was forced to shower every 24 hours because I couldn't wear a hat to school (which sounds ridiculous, but it was a pain!).

You know what the weirdest part of the entire month was? Nobody noticed or cared that I had barely changed clothes for four weeks straight. Not a single person. Not even me, frankly.

And in case you missed that, allow me to reiterate: nobody cared. It turns out that we're all so focused on ourselves that we could care less about whether or not someone wears the same clothes repeatedly over and over (and over) again. Now, granted, we're college students, and our "fashion lives" are mostly non-existent. But I suspect this would've been the case wherever I went.

This only fueled my fire for the fourth month of our experimental mutiny: I was ready to ditch every piece of clothing I had except those seven. Thankfully, my wife stopped me from completely abandoning my dresser and closet full of clothes (one of the many reasons I married her).

But, seriously, it just amazed me how much attention, time, and money we give to our wardrobe selection. We think, "Oh, I have to look just perfect, otherwise people will make fun of me." Nope, not true at all. Not even a little. The real truth that all of those department stores won't tell you is this: we're all so inwardly focused and self-conscious that we don't pay nearly as much attention to way others appear as we think we do. And that's a good thing.

Meanwhile, as I have a pair of shoes for every outfit, people all over the world (and even in our own country) are wearing shoes that don't fit and are causing them pain. Or, even worse, they're wearing no shoes at all, which causes them to cut and bruise themselves on a daily basis. And, in a worst case scenario, they don't have access to a tetanus vaccine and become direly sick as a result of stepping on rusty metal in one way or another.

Thinking about this was all the motivation I needed to purge my closet for Month 4. Even as a guy, I own entirely too many clothes. Maybe it was the fact that I grew up surrounded by women, but I've put way too much emphasis on how I look. And it turns out that the very one who I should by trying to please doesn't even take a second glance at how I appear! It turns out that he's more interested in how I clothe my heart. God wants us to adorn ourselves with himself, not with clothing that reflects even more of myself to me (since it seems nobody else cares what I look like).

And don't even get me started on the fact that by buying certain brands of clothing, we're supporting modern-day slavery. I don't know nearly enough about sweatshops, but I do know that they exist and that they support our extravagant way of living. You can turn a blind eye if you'd like, but that won't stop the reality that is our backwards way of life. It's almost like the Hunger Games, except that it's real. We're the Capitol, and they're our peons, slaving away so that we can pretend to fulfill our imagined needs (which are never fulfilled, like, ever). And that's terrifying, especially if we're seeking to live our lives to the fullest. We should never seek our pleasure at the expense of another's livelihood. 

So if you take anything away from our mutiny against excess, take this: our way of life is wrong. We're a slave to the machine that tries to sell us on the fact that bigger is better, and more is even better than that. The real truth? Less is more. So do us all a favor: vote with the dollars you do have and choose to unplug yourself from the machine of extravagance and excess. Do it for just a month. Or a week. Or even a day.

You'll quickly realize how little having every piece of clothing you want matters. Or how little some others have, while all we want is more, more, more. And all the while, our Savior beckons us all, whether we're dressed well or not, calling us to lay aside everything we have - to literally drop it all, because following him requires everything we have and everything he wants, and not everything he has and everything we want. 

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Questions: Are you self-conscious about the clothes you wear? Do you think others would notice if you started wearing the same clothes over and over again? What areas of excess do you need to trim in order to truly be able to follow Jesus?

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