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:: Saturday, December 13, 2003 ::

Buy Nothing Christmas

Due to poverty restrictions, I will be joining Buy Nothing Day indefinitely. I will be buying one Christmas gift for someone in my family since that's all the more gift-giving we do.

I was just reading Tertullian and he commented (On Idolatry, 11) that most of what we consider "trade" is just covetousness with a layer of cultural respectability veneered over it. He connects it with idolatry.

Isn't it amazing how powerful visual advertizements are? When we see something advertized, with its photo, illustration or video taken so beautifully, we begin to salivate. The image awakens in us desire - and since it is a "licit desire" - not for p**n and the like - we see no problem serving it!

And serving images - that which we see - is the root definition of idolatry.

Nowhere is this more the point than in our furniture arrangements. Before the advent of television, rooms were set up for conversation or for music or for reading - with a seat or a piano or library table the center of attention. Living rooms, family rooms and parlors were set up with a circular seating arrangement - for the ease of conversation.

But now it has transformed. Our rooms are now semi-circular, with reading and music relegated to the margins. All our seating faces the glowing bulb on one wall. Our lives have been re-shaped to serve the ultimate image - the television.

This physical shift in our interior decorating is indicative of another "interior shift." Our lives, once shaped by respect for people (in conversation), respect for virtue (in reading) and respect for beauty and talent (the arts - especially music), have taken on a new form. We have exchanged the image of God in real people doing real activities whom we respect for a false image - and the couches and chairs of our souls have been turned. We have changed from activities that are substantive to those which exist only invisibly, beaming through the air.

Lord, free us from our service to images - our idolatry.

:: Matt 12/13/2003 07:02:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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