Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Proof our World is seriously messed up ...

I know I've becoming increasingly cynical about life, the universe and everything, but today I had a convergence of discoveries that has lead me to the irrefutable conclusion that our planet and our western culture is seriously messed up!!

For starters I read a quotation from Jeb Bush former Governor of the state of Florida that was openly questioning the current Republican Presidential candidate race ... While I agree with what Jeb said and actually found myself saying "Wow, as SMART Bush!!!" the focus of his comment saddened me ... Bush said:

"I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I'm wondering, I don't think I've changed, but it's a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for the broader perspective."

I've long and frequently said we live in a world of fear ... most of it is fear born of ignorance and misinformation, and fed by the narrow minded amongst us who use hot button issues to stir the pot and create controversy.

Shortly after reading the Bush Quote on Facebook, another friend posted a link to an article from the Globe and Mail commenting on a Christian ministry in the US who is calling for a boycott of the Coffee juggernaut Starbucks. The reason for this boycott?

Because Starbucks supports Gay Marriage.

Aaron, a fellow blogger and a digitial techno-weinie within the United Church observed of the article:

"For most people, it's going to be easy to understand that Starbucks position on gay marriage is the right thing to do in a pluralistic society. The boycotting pastor, and all the others trying to use boycotts to limits the rights of gays and lesbians, are only contributing to the marginalization of the reputation of the church and Christians in general. It's a losing strategy. This is why it's very important for Christian supporters of marriage equality proudly share what we believe."

While I agree with Aaron that such silliness makes ALL Christians look marginalized, I think we could learn from those within our Christian Family who are marginalized for another reason.

In ALL of my reading lately I have come to the conclusion that we of the Church who want to live our faith must consider opting out of the rampant consumerism that has gripped our culture. For me the issue of Boycotting Starbucks should be primarily for the use and promotion of FAIR TRADE products within that corporation and better working conditions for its employees.

BUT, overarching ALL of this is the realization that we in the Church should be boycotting the whole consumerist lifestyle that sees a Starbucks, or a Timmie's or a coffee from any franchise outlet as a necessary part of our day.

Why are Christians, that is FOLLOWERS of Christ so blithely participating in the market place in the first place?

This past week our study groups here in Flesherton read through the Song of Faith put out by the United Church in 2006, and under consideration in a remit today, and we read the words:

Sin is not only personal
but accumulates
to become habitual and systemic forms
of injustice, violence and hatred.

If we read and take seriously the words of folks like Jim Wallis, Walter Bruggemann, and others who stand on the prophetic margins of our Church and society today, we would recognize that the consumerist culture we so easily move within is a systemic sin ... Starbucks is part of it, not because it supports Gay Marriage (that idea is a redeeming quality of the super corporation), but because it is part of the problem.

The current economic system is BROKEN.

It destroys communities, misuses resources, values profits over people, values short term gain over long term values like health, safety and the environment, and perhaps MOST reprehensible of all - the current Market Economy and its reliance on Consumerism has erroneously bought into the belief that growth is unlimited and necessary. To my reckoning, the ONLY biological process that holds to THAT particular belief is what medical folks call CANCER.

The place of the Church - the followers of Christ in our world is NOT boycotting a company because it support Gay Marriage, but boycotting the ENTIRE SYSTEM that places too much importance on shopping, consuming and living beyond the means of our budget and our planet.

Our planet is in trouble if we don't wake up soon and see the fallacy of the consumerist culture that so enraptures humanity ... we're messed up ...

The final piece that fell into place for me today to underscore that realization was finding out that someone sued PepsiCo (the parent company of Cap'n Crunch cereal) because they had been eating Cap'n Crunch cereal with Crunch Berried for FOUR years believing they were consuming real fruit.

According to what I read, in their affidavit, they felt betrayed, mislead and humiliated by the realization that crunchberries were NOT REALLY fruit, but simply coloured balls of cereal.


That realization was humiliating??

I would have been humiliated by the realization that I was THAT dumb ...

Today I hear the old song by Christian Gospel/Contemporary musician Randy Stonehill who sang "Stop the World I want to Get Off" back in the 80's ... though I don't agree with everything he sings about, I DO agree with the sentiment ... today I'd like to find a quiet little planet with some intelligent life !!!

Check out Randy's song here: (click for 'Stop the World I Want to Get Off")

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