Aug 28 2015
All artists used to be starving. Some still are. And it used to be that thinkers made very little money. Now, ideas are the currency we exchange FOR money.
The bible tells us to seek wisdom and understanding like we would gold and silver and precious jewels. Somewhere along the way, we flipped the script and now use wisdom to OBTAIN riches. It’s the commercialization of ideas. Ironically (and inversely), it tends to cheapen them.
We consume ideas like a wood chipper – in through our eyes and ears and out of our minds.
Everyone needs to eat. That’s true. The move to a “knowledge economy” implies we’ll make our money from ideas. But what of an economy that’s more human?
Ideas have undergone a change under the pressures of commercialization, commodification, and quick consumption. And as rocks change with pressure, so do ideas – they get corrupted – a word which literally means “broken into pieces.”
“Grow your tribe so you can monetize them.” That’s an idea. And people readily pursue it. They then come up with ideas so they can sell people more ideas. Sometimes those ideas HELP others. That’s good.
But with our money mindset, it isn’t too hard to figure out why we have so many social problems in the United States.
The homeless? Who can make money from them? No one. They COST us money. So some feel compelled to yell at them: “GET A JOB! Be productive.” Productive how? Productive like a machine? That’s by and large how we value people today – for how closely they can mimic a machine in production.
Criminals? We make money from them while they sit in jails.
Older people? We make money from them while they sit in nursing homes.
Our economy has been organized around an idea that people aren’t really people. People are dollar signs. We act like whatever ills befall our society are unfortunate, but, in truth, they’re only that secondarily. They’re firstly opportunities to make cash. Lots of it.
We’ve yielded human hearts and souls to a new class of robber barons – people profiteering from the weak in our society. They’re paid handsomely to “sweep away” the messy people we don’t want to see.
We don’t have time to labor in understanding psychopathy or gerontology or criminology because we’re too busy laboring to make our living and build our career. Enough with careers! Unless careers lead us to be care-ers.
Oh man! How deeply I long in this moment that the words from an unlikely source – the rapper, Wale – would be true of us!
I took my heart away from money.
I ain’t interested in fame.
We have these problems. We can’t be satisfied with words. What are we gonna DO about it? Our minds need to DWELL on the disconnect we have with our lives, the lives of the weak in our society, and our prevailing thoughts about what makes a “good” life. We need to watch things and read things and talk of things regularly that attack our wrong thinking and compel us to seek DOING good, not just LIVING good or THINKING good.
We live in a broken world with broken ideas which are the result of a money mindset, not a love mindset. Jesus taught against this in Luke 6.
For criminals: “Love your enemies,” Jesus said. “Do good to those who hate you… pray for those who mistreat you.”
For the homeless: “Give to everyone who asks of you,” Jesus said.
For the elderly and everyone else: “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” Jesus said.
May we be known as The People Who Put Together the Weakened and not The People Who Sweep Away the Inconvenient.
Oh, LORD! Show us mercy and change our hearts and minds! Help us to see money for what it really is and let us spend all our days doing good and loving people.