Monday, November 19, 2012


Just in time for Thanksgiving, a post about consumption. No, not the 18th century name for TB - or really even the gluttonous nature of our Thanksgiving feasting - well, maybe a little about that.

We do tend to eat ourselves silly on Thanksgiving. It's as if we've set aside this holiday in particular to stop worrying about self-discipline. I even heard an commercial for a local nightclub boasting that the Thanksgiving Eve party is the biggest of the year.

We've even turned it into an economic feast, shopping and buying all night long. Just go crazy. Who cares what you spend, everything's on sale and you're getting a great deal.

Of course it's easy for me to rain on the consumption parade and criticize the way our culture and society is built around the consuming of things (we even design our products to break easily to ensure their quick replacement). However, I've been convicted this week about my own terrible consumption habits.

I've read every word of every ESPN Magazine since its inception - even the articles on stuff I don't care about. I've done the same thing with TIME magazine since we started getting it a few years back. I troll Facebook for interesting links and articles from my friends.

I'm a helpless consumer of information.

Now, many who know me personally understand I know a lot of useless crap. Part of that is the way my brain works - I remember lots of useless crap. But another part of it is the sheer volume of information I process on a daily basis. I'm always reading or watching or listening to something. I've cut down recently, but there's still at least one sermon, two podcasts, two magazines and a dozen blogs, and half a dozen TV shows, I come back to every week. That's not including the various links that come across my news feed and email or the (generally) 2-3 books I'm reading at any given time.

It's a lot of information.

Can I say there's nothing valuable there? No; I do get a lot out of those thing. Can I say there's enough valuable things there to make it worth the time and effort? I'm less sure about that.

But I don't think it's about the amount of information I process, so much as the process I go through to get the information.

I'm constantly busy trying to occupy the mind. I've worked a few moments of quietness and solitude into my life as a spiritual discipline, but I'm afraid they've just become part of the routine rather than an escape from it. I go from one thing to next, always nervous I'll miss something or be left out of a conversation because I'm not up on this event or that idea.

It's not about buying. I'm notoriously cheap. It's about consumption - the need for more. Our society has filled us, whether we like it or not, with an innate desire to have more, do more, know more, be more. The things we measure ourselves by are constantly growing and changing - so we have to keep consuming to keep up.

We even do it in the faith community. We push people to be more involved, more committed, a better Christian. I don't have issue with those things in the generic, but almost universally define them through consumption.

It's rarely about depth or balance; it's usually about more and the next big thing.

Why haven't I gotten to know more people? Maybe because they're low on my priority list. I'm not the kind of person to consume people or relationships, so they tend to take a back see to my information addiction.

I don't know how exactly to navigate this problem going forward (it just hit me yesterday over breakfast - and yes, I was reading), but I am determined to figure out how to keep myself informed and entertained, without being consumed by consumption.

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


I don't vote for President because I don't want to betray my beliefs with my actions. Government, like all human institutions is deeply flawed. It can be terrible or less so, but it can't be good. For me, the decision not to vote for President is a decision to remind myself that there's only one hope for this world - Jesus Christ. That's the only endorsement I can give.

It's been challenging for me lately. Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City, and nominee of the Justice Party, seems like a great candidate. He believe things should be done that mirror my own thoughts and ideas quite closely. He's everything I could ever hope for from the leader of our nation.

By all accounts, he's someone I'd like to vote for.

It's here where I can finally get some perspective on how many of my GOP and Democratic friends live in election season. They really believe their guy is best for the country, that their guy will get things right. All evidence points towards the inherent goodness of this vote.

It's difficult.

But much of God's Kingdom is not yet evident in our world. The way the world seems to work is still a fading shadow of the world as it was - not an accurate representation of the world as it is becoming.

One of Israel's most egregiousness sins was to ask for self-governance, for putting faith in a King to make things right. It was the repeat of Babel - the idea that we can build something to equal God.

In the end, God knows our tendencies; God made them. And so God provided us a King and a Kingdom - one that would fulfill all our wishes and desires - a King to make things right.

But this King didn't reign the way we wanted. We killed him.

But that didn't end the Kingdom. The King didn't stay dead. The world is different. The Kingdom is here, the Kingdom is coming. The Kingdom comes through the Church, the physical embodiment of that King who reigns in humility, wields power by refusing it, and commands without asking anything, but living selfless love.

Our system doesn't look like that Kingdom. It never can. Our system, no matter how perfect - no matter how aligned with the way I or you or she thinks the world should be - will not satisfy.

Let me be the first to say my candidate will not make things better. Yours won't either. That doesn't mean we can't vote for them - by no means. We just can't put faith in them.

For me, that means not voting. I don't have the discipline to vote for someone and not believe in them.

I'm voting for Jesus. I'm voting every day.