Why we are a Greedy western society- Need or Greed?

This is a short expert from my book, Psalm 23 Unwrapped, available from Amazon to give you a flavor of the content- enjoy!

How can I tell if it’s a Need or just Greed?

If we have all that we need, why do we keep gathering those things to ourselves that we think we think are necessary?

I think we can have a distorted view of what our needs really are. These days we are bombarded with advertising that sells us stuff that we are told we need before we knew we needed it! We have grown up with continual advertising negatively affecting our psyche. Marketing is part of our moment-by-moment lives and we are so accustomed to it, that we respond quite unconsciously to advertising. In fact, social science confirms that we very rarely buy something unless we have been sold the idea at least 5 to 7 times.

We usually do not respond to advertisements unless we are inundated with pictures of that beautiful item that we didn’t know we needed. The item pushed on us may be a little bit outside of our budget, but we disregard that. Our heart starts pounding, and we respond somewhat emotionally. We convince ourselves with self-talk like-

 ‘Well, perhaps I do need this, perhaps this would help me to make my life easier, or maybe this will make me happierAll my friends have this, so perhaps I really do need this.’

Having persuaded ourselves, we take ourselves down to the shops, or we click the buy button on our laptops, and before you know it, we are a little poorer than we were 5mins ago. The day comes when our parcel arrives, or we walk out of the shop, and we look at this beautiful thing wondering what the heck am I going to do with it?!!

We are all familiar with this kind of lifestyle, it is very typical of our modern lives, which often leaves us dissatisfied. We try to fulfill our category of needs through ‘things’, but it doesn’t work. We find ourselves wanting more, striving for more. We get ourselves in debt, so we have difficulty sleeping at night with worry. We assure ourselves that we need more and more to justify our spending. Perhaps we have lost the real sense of the word – need

Is that the true meaning of Psalm 23:1b I shall not want? I think not. There is a saying that there is a fine line between need and greed and are spelled remarkably similar. We do not really hear about the word greed very much, and most of us don’t like to consider ourselves as being greedy. After all, it is not the thing to be. It is not a desirable trait to have. So, we never really think about greed very much at all. But in actuality, that is what most of us struggle with – greed.

 We are a greedy society and encouraged to be so through advertising. Greed is when you are not satisfied with the perfectly good things that you have, and you want more, and more, and more – and more!

 Advertisers tell us what we need, and some people will do absolutely anything to get more. The scary thing is that some folks will commit murder or robbery, and all sorts of other horrible things to get what they think that they need, but really, it is under the guise of greed.

So, if I shall not want has nothing to do with greed, what does it really mean then? I invite you to read my book to find out!

THE PEACE MAKER- the Church, Unity in Diversity and Peace of Mind

We hear a lot about Unity in the news. Countries desperately try to create Unity to put a halt to wars and factions. In our personal lives, we try to nurture Unity within our personal and work relationships for the sake of peace and productive life. We do not want the avoidable and unnecessary drama that bring more stress into our lives, so we seek peace in some way, shape or form. 

A peaceful life gives us the psychological space we need for good mental health. If we have good mental health, then we can better look after the needs of our bodies and Spirit. So living in peace is very important. The Bible I full of instructions on how to live in Unity; however, we run into problems when our diversity gets in the way of Unity. We face a dilemma, do we stick our heels in and refuse to budge, which runs the risk of unrest? Or, do we compromise for the sake of Unity? In this blog post, we are looking at the Christian views of Unity in diversity- so if that is something that interests you, please keep reading!

According to Wikipedia, Unity in diversity is an expression of harmony and Unity between dissimilar individuals or groups. It is a concept of “unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation” shifts focus from Unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and psychological differences to a more complex unity based on the understanding that difference enriches human interactions. The phrase is ancient and dates to ancient times in both Western and Eastern Old-World cultures. It has applications in many modern academic fields. The Christian Church has a similar idea of Unity in diversity but goes a step further as to its origins. The Christian vision of diversity is fundamental to two doctrines of Holy Scripture-

 (1) the Unity of the whole human race, 

(2) the universality of the Christian Church, as the Body of Christ

History shows that Christian communities face significant challenges in applying these truths and expressing the need for a changed heart to overcome the prejudice that dominates so many believers and non-believers. God teaches us in Holy Scripture that human beings are ONE (in completed Unity). Jesus said, ‘be as One as the Father and I are One, and Paul preached to the Athenian philosophers, “From ONE man God made every nation of the human race, that they should inhabit the whole earth”.

Human diversification receives its first mention in Genesis 1:27 “So God created the human race in his own image . . . male and female he made them.” The text’s singular term, “human race.”

(`Adam in Hebrew), is specified as diverse in gender, male and female. The idea of diversification is within the Cultural Mandate of Genesis 1:28:

“Be fruitful, increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.” This divine command calls explicitly for the scattering of the race — a theme that shall recur in the Genesis story– and calls enthusiastically for cultural diversification.  It is within this greater context of Unity that humanity’s diversity reveals Gods love for all creation. Hence, it is clear that the Bible provides no approval of anti-multiculturalism as sometimes expressed in the world of dogmas.

The Enemy of Unity

 Different Christian denominations appeared through Cultural imperialism and prejudice of all kinds ends by shattering the human community into a thousand fragments. Each fragment becomes a subculture jealously defending its interests against all the others. From the beginning of time, this was not God’s plan but a result of selfish human pride.

Unity is Not the Same as Uniformity. 

Unity, in fact, is the reconciliation of differences and must nurture those differences for a healthy society to flourish. To forge a healthy Church and society. We must distinguish things and separate them, usually at a cost to ourselves, before we can spiritually unite them and make them work (Ephesians 2:14‒16). 

Perhaps if we had made that simple distinction between uniformity and true Unity, a big problem. Especially by those who overemphasized separate identities and individualism. The great wisdom of Pentecost is the recognition through the Spirit of an underlying unity amidst the many human differences! Paul made this universal principle very clear in several of his letters. For example, “(1 Corinthians 12:4–6). “There is a variety of gifts, but it is always the same Spirit. There are all sorts of services to be done, but always the same Lord, working in all sorts of different ways in different people. It is the same God working in all of them“.

We see this beautiful diversity and yet Unity in the the universe itself—from Latin, unus + versus meaning- “to turn around one thing.” Now, after the traumatic effect of the pandemic upon our lives, let’s pick up the pieces of our lives, to turn around anything that would promote the fragmenting of our lives, Church or society. 

Jesus Prays for All Believers

John 17: 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I also pray for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 in them and you in me—so that may bring them to complete Unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

As we continue to celebrate the season of Pentecost, let we also celebrate our Unity within our diversity and continue to love, respect, and learn from each other.

This is article is a snippet from my new book about Holistic Living, which features Mindfulness and issues around mental health.  It will be published and made available to you later in the year (2021) – so keep a lookout for that!

Also, If you struggle to make self-care a priority or do not know how to start your holistic-mindfulness journey, check out my course, which will be available in the Summer of 2021- subscribe free to this blog to get updates on this! I am launching another website soon just dedicated to Holistic  mindfulness, so keep a look out for that going live! Please follow me here, or subscribe to my newsletter to get your updates on this.

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Paula Rose Parish