During my simplicity journey I was reading the book ‘Consumer Detox‘ by Mark Powley. The final section/final 3 chapters are under the title ‘ Adventures in Generosity’.
This morning I was part of a great conversation on the chapter entitled ‘Openhanded’.
Even in a 20 minute discussion we were able to get to grips with some of the real challenges and the complexities of this issue. How on earth can we go against the tide of consumerism when its so focused on getting us to think that we need to keep on replacing our stuff as quickly as possible and move onto the next or better thing?
It was a great discussion wrestling with the tension of pioneering and developing and simple contentment and saying stop and enough is enough. The current ongoing financial crisis and the seemingly critical stage we have reached with regard to climate change is highlighting that living in the way we do is simply unsustainable. However to revert back to a far more primitive and regressive era does also seem unrealistic and unappealing. However of the two extremes I think I would vote for the latter! But I think such polarity is unwise and unhelpful. Overall I think the book does a good job. We do need to detox, question and challenge the consumer mentality we have bought into, but not slip into guilt tripping or being judgemental as the spectrum is vast, wide and not about just one position or the other.
It is possible to budget wisely and still be generous, to be thrifty but creative and entrepreneurial, to live well in the tension of neither poverty nor riches.
Whatever position we find ourselves in, the challenge for me from this chapter and discussion is the importance of generosity being outworked. To hold onto things more lightly and to genuinely live out life in an open handed, more than transactional way.
As well as the book, which is a really good and really challenging read, I can also massively recommend the blog that Mark wrote on lots of the related themes during Lent this year.