American Idol

“We have got so much stuff in this house, I can’t believe it!”

Lisa was in the midst of a “purge” clearing out some of our belongings in preparation for our move overseas. It really is amazing (appalling?) how much we have collected. It’s a condition not at all uncommon to us here in America. We are consumers and so we get stuff, a lot of stuff and, over the years our closets and garages and attics labor beneath an ever increasing burden of stuff.

Walter Bruggeman, Old Testament Professor at Columbia Seminary argues that consumerism is our idol, that we are idolatrous consumers. In spite of the efforts of our ministers who regularly preach responsible stewardship and the right use of God’s abundant gifts, we never seem quite satisfied with the pile we’ve stashed away at home.

It’s so easy to get more stuff, it’s everywhere and marketers have figured out how to sell us stuff wherever we go, even in public restrooms where ads are proudly displayed in the bathroom stalls and over the men’s urinal. I can only imagine where they’ve tucked them into the ladies room. (A little help here, girls?).

Anyway, we have bowed at the altar of idolatrous consumption for years now and have a heavy material hangover to deal with as a result. The problem is we’re moving and, unlike other moves where someone else picks up the tab, we are moving ourselves this time, and a long way to boot.

So, we’re being very careful about what we bring with us. We have a growing pile of stuff that is to be sold in next week’s garage sale, another pile that goes to storage and then one that goes to Scotland. We expect to hear from the mover regarding an estimate this week, so we may find our Scotland pile grows a bit smaller when we hear from them.

We decided early on not to bring too many books. Shipping books is a lot like shipping bricks; sometimes it just makes more sense to get some new ones when you get there. Lisa and I have already spent a considerable amount of time culling our books and selling those no longer desirable. We’ve found it’s better to brag about how much money you got back from the book reseller than it is to think too deeply about how much the books cost to begin with. Sometimes we get cash, but Hasting’s gives us double the money if we take store credit. That means a lot of movie rentals for our old books. I’m not sure if we’re really getting a good deal on that, but it’s nice to just slip our “gift card” out when we need to pay for our weekend videos and DVDs.

Look for more on this subject in coming entries. There’s too much stuff to talk about here!

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