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For everyone who is lonely this Christmas:
Christmas just isn’t what it used to be.
Sears is closing stores all across the country (my hometown included). The store holds a lot of memories for me.
When I was a child, they still had the candy counters. I remember the trays of red pistachios in the display cases (they were dyed red to hide the blemishes).
More than anything else, I miss the catalogs. Nothing said Christmas more than the Christmas catalogs. There was something about the creamy feel of the paper between your fingertips.
Clicking pages on a website just isn’t the same.
The Christmas catalogs were an absolute wonderland. You could find anything and everything in there, from He-Man and G.I. Joe (I’m dating myself, I know) to Barbie’s Dream House. They had everything from hats and shoes to bedding and dishes.
It was truly a magical time.
This company produces a line of jewelry that notifies you whenever you receive an “important” phone call, text message, Facebook post, Tweet, etc.
This a sad commentary on our society. However did we manage back in the 1970’s and 1980’s to get by without being constantly available?
The Answer: We got things done … EVENTUALLY. It might have taken 2,3,4 … 5 hours to reach us … but reach us, people did.
- If your house is on fire and you and your Beloved are eating dinner at a restaurant that’s twenty miles away, there’s really not a whole you can do AT THAT MOMENT to save your house (other than hope that the neighbors called the fire department).
- If you and your Beloved are at that same restaurant that’s twenty miles away and your kids are coloring on the walls … once again, there’s really not a whole lot you can do at the moment.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s (before everyone was SO interconnected), we got by by setting priorities (I realize this a foreign concept to some of you out there). Some things were deemed more important than others (back then, spending time with the kids was deemed more important than going to a club).
No matter WHAT you do, there are always going to be things that you’ll “miss out” on. That’s life. You’re a human being — you can’t be in two places at once.
This product is a symptom of the self-indulgence and narcissism that is plaguing our society. Are you truly SO important that you can’t be “disconnected” long enough to spend time with your family and/or loved ones? Are they not worth your COMPLETE and TOTAL attention?
What are your priorities? Where do they REALLY lie?
I’m sure you’ve heard about the arrest of Martin Shkreli, the now-former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who raised the price of a lifesaving medicine from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill literally overnight.
The company was fine with charging $13.50 per pill on Monday. What happened? What changed? What could possibly have motivated them to raise the price of that same pill 4,000 percent on Tuesday, other than pure greed?
Is this what our society has come to? Are we now raising a generation of young people who have absolutely no moral compass whatsoever? Is a person’s worth as a human being now to be determined by their capacity to generate a fortune for someone else?
Mr. Shkreli has done more in these past few weeks to hold up a mirror to our society than any theologian or philosopher has been able to do in the past thirty years.
Let’s be honest with our kids … Let’s be brutally honest: Forget science and technology … forget our society’s endless pontificating about the importance of STEM (Read: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). It seems that our young people have learned all too well what our society REALLY values: Grab The Cash and Go. It doesn’t matter HOW you make your money or who you step on (or over) in the process, just so long as YOU make a pile.
Grab the waterfront house, the Porsche, and the sole existing copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s latest album. Your “stuff”, the bling, what people see on the surface — that’s what REALLY matters (and if you should be caught making your fortune illegally … hey, that’s what lawyers are for).
Had Mr. Shkreli not been caught (allegedly) engaging in securities fraud, certain sectors of our society would be praising him to the heavens as a savvy businessman.
Man is more than a mere animal that lusts and grabs for its existence. To be human is to possess a conscience (I wonder if Mr. Shkreli himself would mind his being deprived of a lifesaving drug for want of his ability to pay its exorbitant cost).
The mere fact that we as a society CAN do something … that we are CAPABLE of doing something … does not in and of itself necessitate that we SHOULD do it.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).
Lt. Kaffee: “I want the TRUTH!”
Col. Jessup: “You can’t HANDLE the truth!”
— A Few Good Men (1992) —
Those who preach the “Health, Wealth, and Prosperity” gospel enjoy trotting out Matthew 7:7 :
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The truly ambitious ones will trot out John 14:12-14 :
“[W]hoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
“I will do whatever you ask in my name” … as if Almighty God can be commanded like a genie in a bottle! (“Hello, God? I’d like a BMW, an iPhone 6, and a waterfront house. Oh, and can I have it all by next Tuesday? Thanks!”)
According to the Prosperity gospel, the poor simply lack faith. If they just click their heels and keep affirming that they’re wealthy, all the treasures that this world can offer (expensive cars and house, vast fortunes, expensive jewelry, exotic vacations, etc.) will be theirs for the asking.
As far as preachers of the prosperity gospel are concerned, such things as the overall economy and world events have absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with a person’s earning capacity. They enjoy trotting out such bromides as “If you can believe it, you can achieve it!”
Is this something that we should really be encouraging? Would Christ encourage His followers to wallow in the things of this world?
The prosperity preachers hardly ever mention Luke 6:24-25, where Jesus says:
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
“Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.”
Or His advice to the rich young man in Matthew 19:21 (“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”).
Or further down the same chapter in verses 23 and 24:
“Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
How does one reconcile the Jesus of Luke 6:24-25 and Matthew 19:21 with today’s trendy “prosperity” gospel?
To make matters worse, not even pastors — those whom God has chosen to preach His Word — are immune from this sickness of materialism (Pastor Creflo Dollar recently appealed to his congregation for money to buy a $65-million Gulfstream jet).
(Seriously? Are you and your wife Taffi too good to fly Coach just like the rest of us? When the shepherd is flitting about the world in his private jet, who’s tending the FLOCK?)
The man whom we serve, Jesus of Nazareth, WALKED wherever He went (He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as He was on His way to Calvary, but that ranks as an exception). He was born in a manger and had no need of horses or fancy carriages during His years in ministry.
His successors in ministry — those whom God has appointed to prophecy and act in His name — would do well to emulate His example (at the very least, let us emulate Pope Francis, who is content to drive around Vatican City in a Ford Focus).