Tag Archives: Tolkien

Grace Ji-Sun Kim on Consumerism and Overconsumption

Graces BookIn a post that originally appeared in Ecclesio.com and then on her own blog, Grace Ji-Sun Kim shares an excerpt from her book, Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit.

Here are some teasers that may inspire you to check out the blog and the the book:

One of the problems the Western world is facing today is how to live a life so that all of humanity can flourish and not just a select few wealthy people.

When one looks at the world today, an inescapable fact is the vastly unequal distribution of assets, wealth, affluence, and life prospects. We live in a world where a relatively small number of people, about one-sixth the world’s total population of approximately seven billion people, have a preponderant share of the planet’s wealth and resources, while a significant majority of the remaining six billion lead lives marked by insecurity, poverty, misery, disease, and death.

Today, as capitalism and consumerism drive the modern version of colonization known as globalism, the gap between the haves and have-nots widens beyond anything ever known in history. This unequal distribution of wealth is taking a toll on the fragile planet and ecosystems that we all belong to. What drives the rich to consume all the resources is understood to drive the economy, so many of the rich people’s practices are not challenged or even questioned.

After reflecting on the perils that the drive to consume pose to people and planet alike, Kim presents an alternative vision:

The real wealth of a nation is its people, and the purpose of development is to create an environment for people to enjoy long, healthy, and creative lives.  The good life is defined by the use of money to help people have decent, fulfilling lives. The good life is not having “more and more” but “enough” …

Kim addresses the tension within which humans live – a tension between freedom and limits – a tension expressed in Genesis 3. She goes on to explore the human role as a “steward.” She notes that too often humans chose to act, not as the stewards God intends us to be, but as bandits: cue Kurosawa and The Seven Samurai. 

The image of the steward intrigues me. Tolkien plays with the question of stewardship in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 1992 – as the United States marked the 500th anniversary of the invasion by or arrival of (depending on one’s point of view) of the Europeans in what we now know as the Americas – I preached a sermon contrasting the role of conquistador with steward. As Kim notes,  “It is not easy being God’s stewards, living in a garden where so much more is possible than is beneficial.”

Kim notes the warnings we are receiving about the consequences of our current consumer lifestyle of overconsumption. And she wonders if we will heed the signs and examine and change our ways of “being and living.”

There is much to ponder in the post. There are many topics for conversation. I encourage you to check it out!

See you along the Trail.

 

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Tolkien moment in Central Park

While walking in Central Park today, I had a Lord of the Rings moment. Of a sort. There are two. They are types of towers.

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See you along the Trail.

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Why I like New York 17: two turtles

Across the city, images evoke Tolkien. Two towers abound. Today’s trip to Central Park brought a different image. Look closely. They are there.

See you along the Trail.

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Dismantling the Shire

The evening saw, not the Scouring of the Shire (written by Tolkien but not used by Jackson), but the Dismantling of the Shire. That word doesn’t really fit either. Let me write a bit about what happened and see if a fitting word emerges.

A few years back, more than I can remember at this point, Tricia and I purchased the Shire – a three-bedroom condominium in Jeffersontown – east of Louisville. It served us well and became a site of hospitality for co-workers, folks who worked on projects with me, family members, and even an Obama campaigner. Not counting family, I think twenty people stayed at least one night at the Shire. Some stayed a few more.

When I moved to New York, the time came to sell the Shire – no Sackville-Bagginses being present to take it off my hands. That has proven easier to say than to do. Over time,we have removed different items. Some given away; some thrown away; and some sold. Still no one appeared on the horizon to buy the Shire itself. But that may change soon. Or not.

In any event, with Tricia and I both in town (it does happen), we used our time to sort through the remaining items. When I leave on Friday, little will remain in terms of household goods. Some large pieces of furniture will remain. But we will have dismantled the Shire, for all intents and purpose.

An era slowly draws to a close.

See you along the Trail.

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Two towers, Broadway style

It has nothing to do with Tolkien.
No rings.
No orcs.
No ents.
No wizards.
No hobbits.

But they are towers.
And there are two of them.

30 March 2012

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Still on the trail

Posts have kind of taken a new direction.

But the Road goes on – “ever on and on” to quote Bilbo or Frodo or Tolkien.

I am at Stony Point Center tonight and will be here again tomorrow.

I’ve been watching movies now and then as well. Probably the best recent one has been a documentary – For Love of Liberty – about African-Americans and their service in the military. A lot to ponder there.

See you along the Trail.

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What’s the deal?

February 2 report.

2.36 miles on the treadmill.

12,400 steps.

Bilbo and the dwarves have escaped the spiders (what’s the deal with Tolkien and spiders?). But the wood elves are out there.

Moving back into Clint Eastwood mode watched Blood Work last night.

Also checked out Little Shop of Horrors. Wilbur Force and Seymour.

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