Week Six – Fasting Spending
The Common Thread
by Stephanie Capps
Throughout Lent, we have covered food, waste, clothing, media, and possessions. I think it is fitting to end with spending because, when you really think about it, it is the common thread between all of these. They are all connected to how we spend our money.
Often when we reflect on our spending habits, we only think about how much and/or how often we are spending. And this is, of course, important. Gratitude and contentment are central parts of the Gospel. Jesus told us to guard ourselves against all kinds of greed. He asked us to consider where our treasures were (in things on Earth or stored up in a more mysterious way in Heaven).
Spending less and choosing contentment over consumption is an important thing, but it’s not the only thing. When we think about spending, it is not just WHAT we spend but HOW we spend.
We live in a capitalist society. For the most part, money is power. We can’t forget the gospel truth spoken by Biggie Smalls “mo money, mo problems” (Jesus basically says the same thing, look it up). However, even though scripture has a lot of negative things to say about greed and storing up money for yourself, I think we often forget how much power our resources (whether large amounts or small) can have.
EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND IS A VOTE FOR THE KIND OF WORLD WE WANT TO LIVE IN.
When we purchase locally sourced food, we are supporting small families and more environmentally conscious practices. When we purchase recycled paper products or compostable plates, we are creating demand for them. When we are willing to pay more for ethically sourced clothing, the industry will see that a shift is necessary. (In these cases, ironically, spending more is actually better and more just!) And when we make choices to have less, and only buy what we need, we will transform the demand for dollar stores and shopping centers on every street corner.
Our dollars matter. Spending matters. So, this week, think about every dollar you spend, and consider what kind of world it is voting for!
Stephanie Capps is a birth doula and photographer in Raleigh. In her spare time she likes perusing local thrift stores with a cold-brew coffee in hand, or hanging out in the backyard with her family and chickens.
Articles & Resources
- Consumerism is Making Us Depressed and Anti-social — Business Insider
- Consumerism and its Anti-social Effects can be Turned On or Off — Association for Psychological Services
- A Society Beyond Consumerism — Resillience
- The Irresistible Revolution – Living as an Ordinary Radical — by Shane Claiborne
- The Divine Commodity – Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity — by Skye Jethani
- 7 Experiment: Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess — by Jen Hatmaker