Right now I’m reading a book called “Eat This Book” by Eugene Peterson. Catchy title, right? So I’m reading this book and I was really impressed at how he was able to hit the nail on the hammer when it comes to our culture. Here’s a snippet:
My needs are non-negotiable. My so-called rights, defined individually, are fundamental to my identity. My need for fulfillment, for expression, for affirmation, for sexual satisfaction, for respect, my need to go get my own way–all these provide a foundation to the centrality of me and fortify my self against diminution.
My wants are evidence of my expanding sense of kingdom. I train myself to think big because I am big, important, significant. I am larger than life and so require more and more goods and services, more things and more power. Consumption and acquisition are the new fruit of the spirit.
My feelings are the truth of who I am. Any thing or person who can provide me with ecstasy, with excitement, with joy, with stimulus, with spiritual connection validates my sovereignty. This, of course, involves employing a large cast. . .to cast out the devils of boredom or loss or discontent–all the feelings that undermine or challenge my self-sovereignty.
Whatever your politics may be; this is true. You can apply it to to both sides of the aisle. You could say that it applies to the poor who are able to work, but choose not to; instead choosing to live off government assistance. You could also apply it to multi-millionaires and billionaires who consider a seven figure salary beneath them.
Most likely though it applies to all of us. How many of us actually feel content with what we have? We use credit cards to buy the things we feel we have a right to have even though its not the best decision for us financially. It may be that big screen TV or an extra cup of coffee (guilty. . .very guilty). We could all use Peterson’s words to evaluate ourselves and maybe grow in the process.