Thursday, July 06, 2006

Materialism and "upgrading" our lives

Along similar lines of today's earlier post, Jim Martin has written insightfully on how subtly our standard of living escalates. Here's a quote from his post, "You May Be Richer Than You Think:"

In general, I don't think we notice. I don't think we notice that little by little our standard rises. If it happened all at once, it might be a jolt. No--it is slow--acceptable--reasonable--gradual.

Exactly. Jim does a good job of showing how easily we fall into "upgrading" our big-ticket items of consumption: house, car, etc. I don't think he goes far enough, though, at least in this essay. The real extravagance of middle-class, U.S.A. standards of living lies in the things most of us never give a thought to: $9 movie tickets, clothes at Wal-Mart, Sunday dinner at Cracker Barrel, $25-a-person meals at Applebee's, impulse buys in the grocery-store check-out line. One blessing of not having much money the past few months is to see how very, very frivolously I, like most of my neighbors, spent it when I had it. I pray that if God ever gives my family that kind of money again (e.g., something left over after paying the mortgage and buying food), that we make it count for something.


Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Milton you are quite right about the frivolous way middle class (but certainly not limited to MC) spends money. Two books, one I read a long time ago and the other very recently, by the same author convicted me. Sider's Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger; and his more recent "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience" ... what powerful writing.

I have further taken a que from David Lipscomb and James A. Harding (emergent folks before there were emergent churches) on our relationship to money and the poor. That is explored by John Mark Hicks and myself in our book "Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding." I think they both have something to say to our materialistic culture.

Thanks for the link to my blog. I added you too. Now I just need to figure out how to get the Blog Aggregator to update its reportings on my blog. Do you know how I can do that?

Bobby Valentine
Stoned-Campbell Disciple

9:53 AM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Bobby: No, I don't know how to get the aggregator to update your posts. I'm out of town (and w/o a high-speed connection) this week, but come next we'll I'll e-mail the Blogdigger administrator about the problem. Peace.

12:27 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great book on this subject is "The Treasure Principle" by Randy Alcorn. It is a powerful reminder that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it!

2:00 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for letting me know about it.

6:09 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Milton, I appreciate your help. I do realize you have other things to do . . . so I am in your debt.

Bobby Valentine

6:16 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

No debt, dude. Glad to do it.

6:58 PM, July 06, 2006  

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