Saying Goodbye to Materialism


#1

From my blog:

Saying Goodbye to Materialism

If one thing has come out of the current situation is that Materialism is not conducive with the goal that one should have in life. That goal is that we should live our lives in accordance with God’s Natural Law based on the teachings of Our Lord.

The greed of Materialism, along with its cohorts Relativism and Liberalism, has all but destroyed today’s society. We must look long and hard on how we live our lives and make changes that will not only bring us closer to God, but also hopefully help mend society.

Although I have not been caught up as much as some in the cult of Materialism, I still am guilty of participating in it and I do not like it. In the next couple of months, I will personally be looking at how I live my life and make changes that will not only wean me further away from many of the trappings of Materialism but also, hopefully, bring me closer to God. Some of the things I am looking at:[LIST=1]
*]Look at what I have and get rid of anything I absolutely do not need.
*]Not eating out as often and, when I do, stay away from the more expensive restaurants (which I only eat at once or twice a month as it is). This includes taking my lunch to work instead of eating at the Cafe that is in the building where I work.
*]Taking less expensive vacations and even not going anywhere or doing personal retreats when I take time off.
*]I was looking at buying a new car in the next year or so, but I will look at keeping my 7+ year old compact a little longer and, if I need to get a car, look at use cars first.
*]Instead of going to the mall, bookstore, etc., spend time in prayer (including Eucharistic Adoration), going to Mass, and/or spending time at home reading.[/LIST]I know, some of this look like I am cutting back due to the economy. However, I have been debating a lot of his for quite awhile. In addition, the above list is not, by all means complete. There are some things I have probably forgotten and more things I will think of.

The goal is to make Materialism a thing of the past and God the most important thing in my life.


#2

Have you seen the thread on Franciscan spirituality in the Spirituality forum? That link will take you the most recent page (as I type this, anyway) but there is a LOT of very thought provoking stuff in the other pages as well. It might give you some further insights and inspiration for your efforts.

I am feeling much like you are and St. Francis has been a big help for learning about placing importance on the right things (and above all, and for, Christ).


#3

I just have a few questions. What’s the difference between abstaining from materialism and self-deprivation?

You see the thing is, my understanding of materialism is excess extravagance; the whole ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’.

However, I’ve also learned that one can be rich and not be like Paris Hilton. Ya just keep your money in your bank and if you run into something that you might find useful or worth buying, you buy it. Is that still materialism or just simply making decent use of your money?


#4

That’s not materialism. We all have the desire for good things. God has placed this desire in us. It only becomes problematic when our desire for good things becomes disoreded. Here are some ways that it can become disordered.

  1. If it prevents us from giving to Church and charity.
  2. If it prevents us from being generous with friends, family, and those in need.
  3. If we live beyond our means.
  4. If we buy every little thing that we desire.
  5. If material things become more important than God.
  6. If we seek our happiness in material things.
    If it does not become disordered in some way like those listed above, then our desire for good things is prefectly healthy. My priest preached on this very thing last night at mass and said that God does, in fact, want us to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Just don’t let it get out of hand. He is a very holy and orthodox priest so I trust his preaching.

#5

I think it is called good stewardship and is good common sense, whether you have a little or a lot of money.


#6

Peregrinus, I agree with you that we should shy away from materialism, but I think you should take a good look at how East and West defined it.

If the middle class, as a whole, adopted your steps 2 through 4, the economy would tank even further, because of the people that would be thrown out of work, the businesses that would fold, and the effect those closings wold have on the stock market. (That’s 3 reasons, not a progression.)

No, we don’t have to act like selfish pigs to keep the economy running. And I’m quite happy with your step 1! DH and I are working on that.

But we’ll still go out to dinner when we can afford it, for the pleasure it gives us, and so the waiter or waitress will have a job and get our tips, the company will stay in business, and the stockholders receive their dividends. And, perish forbid that our local Borders and Barnes & Noble go out of business! :eek:

God bless us all,

Ruthie the constant reader


#7

I am originally from Pittsburgh so I grew up on midwest values (we never thought of ourselves a East Coasters). Saying that, I lived in DC any Philly for 14 years and finally realized I hated the East Coast. Been a lot happier since I moved to the Detroit area


#8

Oh okay but #6 kinda confuses me a bit. What do you mean by ‘seek happiness in material things’? I mean a kid could find happiness in playing with his ball and there’s nothing wrong with that. :confused:


#9

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