Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why 1-year-olds fail at capitalism

It’s getting to be time for Easter and that may mean learning about the Resurrection right? Well, sure, but first, there are Easter eggs. X-man, who already loves anything he can throw, has been introduced to Easter eggs in an attempt to prepare him for this, his first participatory traditional competition.

We got the plastic eggs, hid them in the living-room, and told him the rules.
“Ball!” he says and throws it on the ground, cracking the plastic and spilling 2 marshmallows and 2 raisins. There were treats inside?! Now the game is on.

The only problem is that he sits down and opens up each egg and eats whatever is in it before searching for another. The other kids are gonna get all the eggs for sure. Alicia and I caught ourselves in a debate later that week –do we train him to just pile them all in the basket by filling the practice eggs with rocks or do we simply take them from him when he finds each one and basket it ourselves?

Then it struck me…the act of hoarding and selfishness is made possible by ownership.

Ownership is a concept that young children don’t get naturally.
What they see is in front of them and they take it and eat it or play with it and are genuinely surprised when they are told that’s “wrong” or “bad.” Furthermore, what others see and take without rental agreement is perfectly fine to a small child, provided that small child doesn’t see and want the same item.
Take what you want. Use what you need. Leave the rest.
Children live a very pure and immediate version of the law of consecration.

What if we lived like that? All of us…

I thought of my opened garage and my freezer full of my favorite sausage links. What if a stranger just came up and took it out and ate it…well that would be ok. I could eat their steak. Except it wouldn’t be their steak.

It would be no-one’s steak.

Would I care? Yes, but I would care less if I had a year’s supply of food in my a basement.

Did Jesus own anything?

That question may be irrelevant. He maintained a higher perspective of what was important. If a man were to come and ask bread, I could give him all the stuff in my fridge --mayb--except the leftover Thai dish.

Lame Mindset, James.

What if he ate all my sausages?

I felt threatened at the thought and made a note to myself to renew my NRA membership.

But then I tried--for a split second--to imagine I had a whole year’s supply downstairs. If I did, I wouldn’t feel threatened at losing my favorite sausages or in fact everything in my fridge. I would have the luxury to live according to a different mindset.

The irony is that if I own more, I care less about ownership.

I have often wondered about the seeming disjointedness in the scriptures—especially how Jesus’ sermons seem to skip from one unrelated topic to another without finishing the point. But the points are circumscribed into one great whole—the mind of God, also called mysteries of God. Like that time in Luke, he tells the parable of ownership and stewardship. He that hath been given 10 talents passes them on to those who need it immediately (money-changers) and it returns unto him. He shall be given even more while he that hoards the small talent he ‘owns’ for fear of losing it, ironically loses it.

Then Jesus skips right to the instruction to go take some other person’s unused donkey and get it ready for him to ride. Odd? Maybe not.

The Lord hath need of it.

What then of Easter?

Imagine the feast of fun we would have if each time we found an egg, we showed it to each other, sat down and gorged on the delicious chocolate before hunting for another. Let all the kids eat as much as they want, right on the spot! All would be fed, glee-filled, and ecstatic!
There would be no egg-counting, no divvying or fairness.
Those who rush from egg to egg imagining they are getting more glee than anyone else, let them do what they want. They have less actual fun than that brilliant toddler who sits for 20 minutes and gleefully sucks every last bit of chocolate from the foil of a single egg.

And that is the magic of Easter – not in what we get for free (an eternal resurrected body filled with glory), but the freedom that comes from the fresh perspective:

suddenly, we do not own a thing, yet will be given all the Father hath – not to hoard for ourselves or gloat over, but to enjoy if we simply give it away.

And because I have only a month’s supply of food, I felt too threatened until now to even consider the possibility of ownership being a liability.

So honey, let’s start building up our stores and renew our child-like concepts of ownership.
Does anyone want some delicious sausages?