Saturday, June 11, 2011

Coffee is evil

This is a hard post for me to write.
I find it hard because I don't want to say it. I find it hard because I don't want to change. I find it hard because it seems so extreme.
Yesterday I read some articles about consumption and global warming, and basically how our lifestyles are screwing the world.
Last night I had a serious conversation with R. about how we could simplify our lives.
This morning I went for a walk down to the beach. I had had breakfast already, and a coffee.
But there were shops there, and a bakery.
So I walked in and purchased a regular flat white and a mini pizza thing. I knew I didn't need it. But as I sat and chewed on the bread I tried to justify it. "It is just one" "I'm thinking about a sermon" "I'm eavesdropping on those two ladies conversations and therefore researching the way people think"
All of these excuses were, in fact, bullshit.
The terrible reality of the evil lives that we live (evil because they harm so many others and are responsible for some serious upcoming problems), is that they are an accumulation of seemingly innocuous, seemingly innocent decisions.
No one could fault me for eating a mini pizza and having a coffee.
Yet I am massively at fault.
Just like I am massively at fault for going on a long and mostly pointless drive yesterday.
But no one will reprimand me for that either.
David Foster Wallace diagnoses this as an ongoing adolescence in our culture.
He isn't talking about the people who live with their parents until 30, don't get a job or have kids, ala Mark Driscoll.
He is talking about the fact that we will keep on doing something, even if we know it is wrong and destructive, until our parent (the government) legislates against it. And then we pout and sulk about the parent.
I am one such product of this adolescent culture.
I'm really not sure whether I need to be grounded or kicked out of the house.


alison said...

Woah! Lots to think about!
Thanks for posting, even when it's hard to litsen to.

Aaron said...

"All of these excuses were, in fact, bullshit."

you're also at fault for a bit of potty mouth. C'mon dude, why waste a meaningful post by swearing. You didn't even need to put that in.

"Watch your LIFE and doctrine." 1 Tim 4:16.

I read your posts and get a sense you care about doctrine. I don't know who you are (I find it odd that you have a blog don't include any information about who you are, what are you hiding?) and I don't know where you are at with Jesus, but why say something that is obviously important to you, and then swear in it? You just misrepresent Jesus and it comes off that you are more concerned about "knowing" rather then "living." you contradict yourself in this post.

I read your posts regularly and I agree with some things and disagree with others. However, perhaps in your pursuit of knowledge (which you seem to have in droves) you have forgotten what it means to live as a one who truly follows Christ.

Mike W said...

Hi Aaron,
thanks for your concern. You are right about the life and doctrine bit.
One of the weird things about blogging is that you have no idea what context they will be read in.
The reality of the kind of world I live in is that that particular word just isn't so offensive, but it might be in yours, so I have to be careful.
Following jesus involves a pretty intense discipleship I'd say, and while that includes how we blog, (and speak) it involves rather more than this.

As for the info, well, not hiding, just haven't put it up. My name is Michael Wells (although another fella blogs here too rather infrequently). I live in Kiama Australia where I work as a minister. I'm married, have currently enjoyed the music of Tom Waits, worked previously flipping burgers, walking on stilts, barista, small business owner. Spent the last four years studying Bible and Theology at Moore Theological College in Sydney (hence the overload of intellectualness). I've been a christian since I was about 8, with various ups and downs along the way. My favourite thing in the world is a toss up between Bible study and teaching Scripture in High Schools, (though just the public ones, forced private school christian education I find more difficult).
Right now i'm struggling with my first time living in a suburban environment (admittedly, by the beach, so it isn't so bad). I've never lived somewhere where almost everyone is middle class, bent on buying new cars, bigger TV's and the like, and there aren't crazy people and derelicts on the street. I know for many this is normal, but for me it is a bit weird.
Any other info you'de like?
My first child is about to come into the world (over a week late!), so if I don't reply for a bit, you know why.
How bout you mate? Where you from. It always comes as a bit of a shock that people actually read this blog.

Aaron said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your response.

I read mine over again, probably a little full on. Sorry for not being gracious in my response and for any offence caused. The whole swearing thing is a massive pet peeve of mine. I just think you could have chosen a different turn of phrase to describe your excuse.

Do members of your congregation read your blog? It's good to be careful with what we say. People are sensitive and are always looking for an opportunity to catch you out.

I really appreciate that you take the time to blog though. I do enjoy reading them.

I'm currently an MTS trainee, doing student ministry on art and design campuses. I have a background in fine arts. I originally grew up in Blacktown and am now living in the inner west with my wife. (we just got married in September last year) I became a Christian at 18 (I'm 23 now) through the youth group ministry at the church I was then at.

Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself with me. Congratulations on fatherhood. That is awesome.

Mike W said...

ok, so lets think about how we deal with sins of accumulation. I'm thinking things that are kind of ok on their own, but as a pattern are excessive.
One difficulty is how to define them, since our natural response is to define them relatively to whatever society is around us. In one sense this is fine, gluttony must take into account it's surroundiings.
But in a globalized economy, (and possibly before a globalized one), our capacity to grasp the effects of our consumption is out of step with what we compare ourselves to. we cant take in our economic surroundings. And when we do, the information is somewhat disconnected, and even when it gets through it is frightening. And even when we get over our fright, most people with any close connection to us wont have, and so wont raise moral issues.
So, how have we lost the moral ability to talk about 'habits' and a 'shape' to life? (as opposed to say, swearing, which is quite easy to point at in one instance).
How can we start that kind of conversation in our churches that are wedded to the notion of individual choice? Except perhaps to present it as a better choice.

Anyone got anything that has dealt with this well?

Mike W said...

Hey aaron,
thats cool, how is MTS treating you?
Which campuses? (or is it Campii).
Who is your trainer type person?