The 7 Experiment – Reflections on Possessions

I failed the possessions experiment.  Part of the reason I didn’t do much this week is that I don’t really care about possessions.  As I mentioned last week, I’m cheap, so when I do actually buy something for myself, I use it and abuse it until it is worn out.  Whether it is our 2003 Honda CR-V, a clergy shirt, or a laptop computer, replacing it is not an option until it cannot be salvaged.  I had plans for this week, of course.

I had hoped to follow up on the clothing week by taking stock of all that I do have and eliminating the excess, the tattered, the stained, the should no longer be worn even in the comfort of my own home.  I still plan to do that, but (here comes excuse number 2) life is just too hectic to be sorting through my drawers.  I had planned on taking stock of the copious amount of books in my office.  I wanted to actually think about what books I will continue to use in my ministry, what books I’ve purchased or received that I will never actually read, and what books could be used by someone else.  I still plan to do that, but refer back to excuse number 2.

The truth of the matter is that I didn’t care much about the week on possession and so I didn’t take the time or put forth the effort to engage it much.  Maybe I’ve been so brainwashed by Madison Avenue that my excess of stuff doesn’t bother me, except when we moved last year and I was actually embarrassed by the amount of stuff we have as a family.  Maybe even in my nickle-nosery, I’m just as tied into the game as everybody else.  That is surely possible, but what struck me this week more than anything else is how priorities affect decision making.  Possessions are not a priority for me and so rifling through them went to the bottom of the list.  I think I’m OK with that, even if it means I failed possessions week in The 7 Experiment.

Back to tough stuff this week, Media.  Facebook and Twitter notifications are turned off, so if you want to comment on a post this week, do it here so I can see it.

The 7 Experiment – Reflections on Food

In case I haven’t said it enough, Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foley is a cool place to hang out.  From our oldest members to the nursery-aged kids, there is just a lot going on in the lives of the saints that call Saint Paul’s their spiritual home.  One of the coolest things that has happened here recently is the growing interest in lay-led Christian Education.  We currently have two groups that have started, on their own, based on the interests of a few people.

The one that is impacting me the most is a book study on “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker, mostly because of my wife’s direct involvement in it.  Let me tell you, these young adults are crazy.  Each week, they (and by extension I) will engage in a discipline aimed at extricating ourselves from the rat race that is “work more to buy more.”  I’ll reflect here each week on the experience.

Food.  Why on earth did she start with food?  Here’s this week’s deal, eat only 7 foods.  Thanks to the scheduling gods, SHW and I had a big house blessing/warming party on Sunday afternoon before this started, and it didn’t seem to be within the spirit of the experiment to let a bunch of perishable foods go to waste in the name of simplifying our lives.  So, aside from the left over veggie tray (and the chocolate cake at SHW devoured in 2 days and the open bottle of white wine that I tried to ration over the week), my list of 7 items was: oatmeal, honey, whole wheat bread, peanut butter, apples, chicken, and zucchini.

We’ve all had the experience of taking a mission trip and seeing these people who have next to nothing: one change of clothes, beans and rice once a day, fetid water, and a tin shack; and they are joyful people, eager to share what they do have and love without reservation.  My week of 7 foods made me realize that they are able to live like that because they haven’t been made evil by the demon of privilege.  What eating only simple foods did to me was make me grouchy, with absolutely no patience for my children.  I was hungry, mostly because by Wednesday, I couldn’t imagine shoving another apple down my throat, but that’s not an excuse.  I’m used to eating and drinking what I want, when I want, and I’ve gotten nice and fat because of it.  I lost 10 pounds this week, and could stand to lose 20 more, but the real take home for me was to realize that entitlement ain’t just a government program.  Instead, it lives deep within me as I expect to be satisfied at all times.  I could probably do with less satisfaction.  This week has helped me realize that, and hopefully, it will produce fruit in the weeks, months, and years to come.

This week’s experiment is clothing – 7 articles.  How hard can that be?