“our hands are too full”

I got this from Reflections of a Jazz Theologian:

Saint Augustine once said…

God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive.

Gerald May adds…

If our hands are full, they are full of the things to which we are addicted.  And not only our hands, but also our hearts, minds, and attention are clogged with addiction.  Our addictions fill up the spaces within us, spaces where grace might flow.

Lord have mercy…

May our hands be open during the Advent season to receive the grace God has given and is giving to us, through the coming of the Son and the presence of the Spirit.

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Make Something Day

I’m sure by now a lot of people have at least heard of Adbusters‘ “Buy Nothing Day“, a kind of subversive response to the mayhem that is “Black Friday“, the “official” beginning of the holiday shopping season. The Ecclesia Collective takes that initiative one step further with “Make Something Day“. I really like this idea, I think I’m going to start working on some recordings to make into a CD to give away for Christmas gifts (probably with downloads available).

I especially like this idea because it isn’t just a form of passive resistance (which isn’t the intent of Buy Nothing Day, but unfortunately it’s often taken that way), it’s a pro-active attempt to act in a way that counteracts the consumptive tendencies of our culture and seeks to balance them with not just consuming, but contributing. I think Buy Nothing Day is a great thing and I see Make Something Day as entirely continuous with its intent. I just think there is real value in formulating not only a negative account of things but also a positive account – another way of saying, as I do on my “Anarchy” page, that deconstruction is a precursor to an experience of truth. In this case, it is not enough to argue that the consumptive tendencies of our culture are wrong (deconstruction), we must also seek to replace those practices with new ones (reconstruction).

How appropriate, then, that this (de/re)constructive protest action takes place near the beginning of Advent, a time when we celebrate/reflect upon/re-member the coming of the One who makes all things new.

Related link: Make Affluence History, from Geez Magazine.

A reflection for Advent

I didn’t write this, but I wish I had.

A young man called out to Jesus from the crowd and said, “Teacher, command the trustee of my father’s will to give me my share of the inheritance!” Jesus replied, “I am not a lawyer or a judge—why should I get involved?” Then Jesus told everyone, “Guard yourself from every form of trying to get more in the world. When you finally get everything you want and more, then you finally realize too late that stuff is not what life is about.”

“There was an entrepreneur who ran his own business. One year, he did exceptionally well, and found that his business had outgrown his little store. So he was contemplating what he would do with his surplus profit, so, talking to himself, he said, ‘I know! I will rent a larger store, hire a couple of employees and the business will practically run itself! Then, over a few years I will have a tidy nest egg stored up and I’ll say to myself, “You have found the good life. Now it’s time to relax, and enjoy your retirement.”’ In that instant, however, God’s voice spoke to the man, ‘You are such an idiot. This very night your life is to be taken from you. So who will enjoy what you are planning?’ This is what happens to a person who works for himself and his family, but who never gives to God by giving to the poor.”…

See the rest at Young Anabaptist Radicals.