Minimalism Is Not the New Christian Approach to Managing Possessions
by Harma-Mae Smit
Whatever happened to materialism? What happened to the unapologetic celebration of glitz, the songs about the accumulation of stuff, the vaunting of consumerist culture? The prancing "material girl" and the slicked-back "greed-is-good" tycoon have receded. Materialism has retreated with a whimper, still existent, but unable to deny that stuff, stuff, stuff cannot fulfill. People point at the inescapable flaws: More stuff can make you more anxious, not less. It doesn't bring you everlasting happiness. It can stand in the way of your fully developing your potential, and it can hold you down in a place you don't want to be. To celebrate materialism takes an increasing amount of effort.
Talking heads have preached against materialism for years now, and we've all nodded along. Researchers have conclusively demonstrated that materialism decreases your overall sense of wellbeing. But nothing has stemmed the tide of products filling our houses, trash flowing out of our homes, or things overflowing from our self-storage units. All our agreement with the emptiness of materialism has accomplished nothing. The idea that what you own doesn't bring fulfillment has become so common and clichéd that the message has faded into the background.
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Harma-Mae Smit lives in Edmonton, Canada, where she works as a library assistant and studies theology at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary. She is a professing member of Immanuel Canadian Reformed Church. Her work has previously appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Edmonton Journal, and Reformed Perspective magazine.
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