Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas / Greed / Classic Rock

This Christmas, more than any other, has turned my thoughts toward those who might not have a Christmas as nice as I'm going to have. I wish I could say I was doing a lot this year because of that, but the truth is, even though I've done more than any previous Christmas, what I have done is far less than what I could do. I guess it's one of those things that I need to carry with me beyond Christmas, to be mindful of the needs of others; to do something about the needs of others, regardless of the time of year.

I've been thinking of this season about greed, consumerism, and the desire for more "stuff". Recently, I heard on the radio about a local organization (HEALS, Inc.) having a "shoe drive" (my term) for kids that didn't have proper shoes to wear to school. It disturbs me that there are kids in Huntsville that have to walk to school in the cold December rain in holey shoes, but I'm worried about what action figures I'm going to get for Christmas. And that's just scratching the surface.

From so many places I'm reminded of this season of giving and sacrifice; of so many people celebrating the birth of Jesus. I'm not going to get into the whole "Left-wing anti-Christmas conspiracy" thing, but I wonder how much of that that is hype. I find it ironic that I grew up in a Christian tradition that went to great lengths to remove Jesus from the whole holiday season (if that doesn't make sense, Mark Elrod does a good job of describing the phenomenon). I wonder if they are part of the conspiracy...

But now, I'm thankful of being reminded of Jesus and His sacrifice when I hear Kenny Rogers and Wynonna sing:

Mary...did you know...
When you kiss your little baby,
You've kissed the face of God.
(Mary, Did You Know)

Or Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies:

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Worship Him, God Most High.
(God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

For some reason, the more I think about it, the more it convicts me of how much I have and how much others don't.

Then tonight, I read about John Densmore (who was the drummer for The Doors) and his issues with "selling out" their music.

He has some interesting thoughts after Cadillac, last year, offered them $15 million for Break On Through to sell their SUVs:

All of it made me think about this book I want to write. It's about greed.

How do people get such crazy ideas? What did Paul say about the love of money?

A few years ago Densmore wrote a piece in The Nation regarding the same thing. Here he says things like:

We used to build our cities and towns around churches. Now banks are at the centers of our densely populated areas.

Does this say anything about what we worship?

He says a lot more, and this paragraph is to good to pass up:

Actually, it was John and Yoko who inspired me to start a 10 percent tithe, way back in the early '80s. In the Playboy interview, John mentioned that they were doing the old tradition, and it stuck in my mind. If everybody gave 10 percent, this world might recapture a bit of balance. According to my calculations, as one gets up into the multi category, you up the ante. Last year I nervously committed to 15 percent, and that old feeling rose again: the greed gene. When you get to multi-multi, you should give away half every year. Excuse me, Mr. Gates, but the concept of billionaire is obscene. I know you give a lot away, and it's easy for me to mouth off, but I do know something about it. During the Oliver Stone film on our band, the record royalties tripled, and as I wrote those 10 percent checks, my hand was shaking. Why? It only meant that I was making much more for myself. It was the hand of greed.

It's interesting reading this ex-drummer of The Doors echoing some of the thoughts I've been having. And the man tithes. I don't know where he tithes, and, actually, it's none of my business, but how many of us who are vocal about our Christianity can actually claim to do that? Why do I have the feeling that if all the Christians in Florence, Alabama gave 10%, poverty would be but a memory here?

Thanks to the Maverick Philosopher.

Quote of the Day: rich in helping extravagantly generous.
Paul, in his first letter to the young preacher, Timothy

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