Saturday, March 24, 2007

spring cleaning and materialism

hi, i'm mindi and i'm a pack rat. seriously. i have issues with not being able to throw stuff away. i save notes, letters, silly momentos, gift bags, tchotchke, old t-shirts that i haven't worn since college.

when i moved to san diego, two of my friends came over to help me pack. i purged a LOT of stuff then: stuffed animals i'd had since my toddler days, notes i'd passed in class in middle school, birthday cards from my childhood, and a frightening amount of clothes i hadn't worn since high school. one of those two friends is an organizational whiz (though she'd deny it) and gave me a few rules of thumb to save me from my pack rat self (and to keep me from joining the ranks of the women in my family all of whom have drawers and closets that should only be opened while wearing a hard hat and garages and attics stuffed to overflowing).

one of those rules was to do spring cleaning. toss what doesn't work that can't be fixed. give away the clothes, accessories and shoes from last season that were never worn. clean out the files throwing away anything that isn't truly needed for tax records or insurance type reasons. get rid of things you just aren't using anymore. i've gotten good at this for me. and that's what i've been working on this past weekend and this weekend.

but i'm wrestling with what to do with a few things. for example, my toaster and coffee maker. both are the original ones i got when i first moved out on my own. they're probably both at least 15 years old. they're ugly, but they work. and my towels. i have them in a variety of mismatched colors. you can tell the history of my bathroom colors from my towels. my towels are faded and frayed around the edges, but they still work. so here's the dilemma all of this stuff still does the job they were created to do. they just don't look that good doing it. there's a part of me that wants to toss them out or donate them so i can buy new, pretty towels and cute appliances. but there's a part of me that feels wasteful, like if the items are still good enough to donate they should be good enough for me to keep and use.

i haven't quite figured out what to do. it's not like i need new stuff, i just would like it. but there's this little voice in the back of my head (it sounds more like my aunt than my mom which will make sense to you if you know them), that says "there are thousands of kids dying of starvation and starvation related diseases--do you really need a cute toaster?"

and the answer is i don't need one, but is it bad to want one?

Monday, March 19, 2007

quick thought about labels

so, after reading a few blogs this evening and reflecting on some recent conversations with friends, i'm finding myself so frustrated with the assumptions that go with labels we use to categorize people.

i know we need some ways to group people and to identify ourselves with groups but i'm frustrated with the frequent easiness we assume the worst about people based on their labels. i'm as guilty of it as anyone, but i'm finding myself to be more sensitive to it lately.

emergent people frequently blog & comment about the ills of the evangelicals. evangelicals frequently blog & comment about the evils of emergents. both claim the other side has perverted the gospel. i have friends who've eschewed the use of the word 'christian' and prefer jesus-follower or something similar. i know there are lots of people who've used the word 'christian' in ways that are more political than related to the meaning i learned for the word 'christ-like'. and i also recognize that there are people who do very un-christ-like things while calling themselves christian.

the fact is that it doesn't matter how you label yourself or others, if you don't extend to others the love and grace that christ has extended to you, you don't bring him glory--you just pervert a whole new set of labels and create for the community of faith that chooses jesus more bad publicity.

for myself, i'm going to try to not judge others by their labels. i'm going to try to take people on an individual basis. i'm going to assume that regardless of the group people choose in trying to figure out their relationship to christ that they are trying their best in the ways they know how.

i don't expect myself to be perfect at this, or even good at it consistently. but i am going to try to assume the best about people. by trying to assume the best first i hope to be a little less suspicious and cynical.