Friday, March 25, 2005

Wendy's New Finger Food Menu Item

Posted by Hello
Most of the stories on news programs do not actually affect our lives, but the story about the woman finding a finger in her Wendy's Chili bothers me! It's not that it's simply gross or frightening. What bothers me is that I was not surprised by story, but yet I continue to eat out (though I may steer clear of chili for awhile).

I have read the expose Fast Food Nation, which I recommend to everyone, so the fact that someone's finger could wind up in a fast food meal was not surprising to me. What disturbs me about Americans eating out so much is not so much that it is unsafe, unhealthy, or expensive, but rather that it makes a statement about families today.

The fact that we eat out so often says that we are not good stewards of our time and that we prize our belongings more than our time or our families. If you will notice, I said that I eat out, so all of this applies to me. The day has not become shorter than it was two generations ago, so why does this generation have no time to cook and eat a decent, healthful meal served at the family dining room table? I think the number one reason is that we have too many possessions. Yes, you read that right. We are so caught up in materialism and consumerism that we are exhausting our energies purchasing, paying for (many times in multiple payments), and caring for our possessions that we are owned and enslaved by them, and they are eating away at our time and in turn, our relationships.

In the past several generations, our houses have become increasingly larger and our families have become smaller, so not only is there more stuff to take care of, but there are not as many family members to share the work load. How much stuff will it take to make us happy? Howard Hughes was once asked how much money would be enough for him, and he said that the answer would always be one dollar more. We know cognitively that possessions do not bring us happiness, but is it a heart knowledge for us? The acquisition fo this type of knowledge is something that takes time, and since we are a microwave and one click purchase generation, it is painfully difficult to gain a true heart knowledge.

So, what do I do to "fix" this problem of materialism and the resultant loss of time? Two years ago we made a good start by buying a house that was half the size of our old house (though still, more than ample) moving closer to work. This move forced us to get rid of unneeded items in order to fit into the smaller house. I would love to move even closer to my husband's work and our church, possibly even downtown, but moving is not practical or cost efficient for us at present. We are seriously looking into a much smaller auto as well, but these are one time changes that do not necessarily effect a heart change. What we need are complete attitude changes that will result in many small changes that will be permanently integrated into our everyday lives. Our attitudes should be based on kingdom-centered thinking rather than self-centered thinking. We need to ask ourselves how our purchases, belongings, and very lives effect the kingdom of Christ. I believe this will lead to radical changes in the Church today. But, for now, what would be some more tangible changes that we can make?

The biggest practical helps for better managing my time would be to shop only when necessary, consolidate trips, plan ahead, and TURN OFF THE TV. OW! Not the TV issue again. Am I anti-TV? No, I just don't want it to own me rather than the other way around, and it's a big time waster in my life. Not everyone has this problem (though more than some are willing to admit), but TV brings dissatisfaction with life into our lives by offering us an artificial reality that is impossible to obtain, even if we use a no interest credit card. TV's alternative reality can be compared to the forbidden fruit of Eden. It looks and tastes good and brings pleasure, but afterwards come death, destruction, enslavement to possessions, and hard labor. It comes superficially in the form of a Visa bill, but the true loss all too often comes in the loss of a life lived abundantly in a Christ whose yoke is easy and His burden is light. How will you spend your time today?

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