I was recently shocked to hear addictions expert Dr Gabor Mate claim that we live in an ‘addicted world’. In fact, he said, ‘We’re so addicted, that we’re destroying the planet because of it’.
The comment kept playing on my mind. We know that our lifestyle is endangering our planet, but we just can’t seem to stop consuming. That’s why, when someone actually says ‘no’ to a lifestyle of consumerism, it’s an important prophetic act.
In this edition, we hear from two women who chose to say ‘no’ to buying clothes for a year. In our culture, this is not a frivolous decision. I once decided to stop buying clothes for six months (I couldn’t manage a year!) and was surprised at how much anxiety it brought up—I realised my identity was wrapped up in clothes, and it challenged me about the importance of appearances in our culture.
In a similar way, I admire the officer lifestyle, which says a prophetic ‘no’ to the ‘normal’ Western values of accumulating a house, car and general wealth—in favour of storing up the treasures of the gospel.
One way the Army does this is helping people through very real, literal addictions. I was awestruck by Tracey Benson’s story (p. 6), who attended The Salvation Army’s Hauora programme. One of the programme’s leaders, Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Hutson, was able to catch up with her to capture her story. Transformed lives, like Tracey’s, is the kind of ‘wealth’ that is truly counter-cultural, and has the ability to save both our souls and our world.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Ko te wāhi hoki i ō koutou taonga, ko reira anō ō koutou ngākau.