02 January, 2008

New Year's Resolution

I've never made a New Year's Resolution before. That tradition, in my opinion, would create more guilt than good, and so is harmful. But this year, I'm making a lifestyle change. Calling it a New Year's Resolution just happened to be convenient. Also, every time I write "2008," hopefully I'll think about it and keep myself from slipping back into my old ways.

First off, you should go watch this video. It's long, but it's worth it. Then you should go check out this blog post. Then go listen to this sermon.

I listened to the sermon first. It was incredible, and one of the reasons why I went to New Attitude '07. Eric Simmons is a great preacher. A few months later, I can't even remember how, I discovered one of the Compact people, via the blog link above. Just today, I watched the video after finding the link on Josh Harris' blog. Over the past year or so, I've had all these realizations that are, finally, resulting in action.

I solemnly swear to buy nothing new for the next year. This includes a new championship ring (should my team earn another championship), a new computer, a new cell phone, new clothes (with a few logical exceptions), and...music. (That's going to hurt more than most things!) Also, I'm going to recycle more purposefully than in the past. I recycle at school, and my family recycles plastics, but the trash that comes out of my room will be sorted accordingly.

Why? The statistics stated by Annie Leonard and the Compacters may or may not be 100% true, but the concepts they present and the problems they reveal about consumerism make me think. I agree with their solutions, and am following their examples to make the solutions personal. Consumerism is part of my culture. I choose to reject this part of my culture. Some people take offense to aspects of foreign cultures; this part of foreign culture has offended me enough to reject it.

culture? Yes. Being a Christian, I am in this world, but not of it. God commanded us (me) to subdue the earth. Not destroy it. We've done an incredibly poor job of cultivating God's creation, and instead have plundered and pillaged. I am not turning into a tree hugger or anything quite so extreme, but I'm doing this because God created the world to sustain humanity, and it may be hard to see at first, but there is plenty of physical suffering in the world that is aggravated (if not created) by our lust for affluence. I don't want to cause others to suffer just so I can have a green shirt that matches my striped vest. That's sick.

You may be asking why I singled out music. Music is a good thing! I love it! I got 6 CDs of fresh goodness for Christmas, and hope to enjoy them for a long time. I'm "fasting" from new music for the time being, because music is a "financial distraction" right now. Some day I may have it in my budget...but not now. Besides, free music can be found if one looks for it.

What will I buy, then? Most of my money will be going for my college tuition right now...but I still plan to go to concerts, eat food, and buy college textbooks (though I'll get those used through half.com).

Hopefully I'll blog about this throughout the year, and my first New Year's Resolution will result in positive change.


Laedelas Greenleaf said...

P.S. I was referring to LEGAL free music, by the way. I do NOT condone illegal file sharing because A) it's illegal and B) it could possibly hurt a struggling artist.

Jon Daley said...

Heather and I talked about this some. I think for the most part we don't buy all that much that is new, though we did get a couple Christmas presents for each other.

We try not to buy the cheapo stuff, since it breaks so easily.

We watched the video, sort of a couple times, since Jonathan and I were watching it when Heather came down, so then at the end, watched it again so Heather could see the first parts.

We were surprised at some of the statistics (some were too low and some too high in my estimations), and some of the stuff you just sort of have to laugh about how she is exaggerating to make her point.

The one thing about the $4.99 radio, is that I don't think she really explained how the cost is so cheap. I still don't know how a radio can be shipped around the world, whether or not slave labor was used, and the factory that made it polluted, etc. That makes the effective price of the radio go up, but still doesn't change that somehow the vendor can make a profit when he sells a $4.99 radio.

If you don't want to post your progress on your blog for whatever reason as you go along, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts throughout this year.