Thursday, April 01, 2004


reading How Much is Enough? Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture by Bread for the World's Arthur Simon. I'm really enjoying it. It's not complex - very readable, very straight-forward. But it doesn't need to be complex to be challenging and convicting. I feel very convicted after reading a few pages at a time. Simon quotes Reinhold Niebuhr: "the most natural expansion of the self is the expansion through possessions." (pg. 67)As I sit here in my HUGE parsonage, wondering how to fill the half-empty rooms, wondering what things to buy simply to have it seem more full, I find I am, even at my self-given middle-class label, exactly who Simon directs this book at.

Some other excellent excerpts:
"The average U.S. child watches three to four hours a day [of TV], engaging that child for more time than any other daily activity except sleeping. If you do not think the gratuitous sex, violence, humor, language, and coarse behavior shown on television have a formative impact on your children, then the tobacco industry want you to know that smoking odes not cause cancer, the NRA that guns don't kill people, and advertisers that commercials have no impact on consumers." (pg. 55, emphasis mine)

"so the problem is preoccupation with mammon more than the amount of mammon. Poor people are apt to worry about food and clothing, rich people covet much more." (pg. 62)

And finally this gorgeous poem Simon quotes, written by Pamela Stephenson. (pg. 71)

Always a barrier,
Preventing me from loving.
Little boy standing by my side,
Beautiful hair, hideous sores on his legs,
Open wounds, I don't want to pick him up,
Yet his arms reach up to me, asking to come.
I let him struggle, hoping he would go away.
But he persisted, until I could no longer refuse.
Reluctantly from behind, I pulled him to my lap.
Only then
I saw that he was blind.
My heart went out to him, my shell was cracked
As he clung desparately to me.
Close as we were it was not close enough.
I help him tightly and resting my head on his,
Wept in despair.
Blind in Calcutta - waht hope for him
With me so blind?
Observed in him, the child in me
And wept again
With joy and pain
Experience the mystery of a Love that overcomes.
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