Sunday, September 13, 2009

An exercise in futility.

I don't know if you live in the suburbs, or if you have a grasp of what life is like here in the bedroom communities of America; but let me give you one little insight into the culture I happen to live in. This morning I volunteered with some guys from church for a festival of sorts called "Woofstock." Last year, all the volunteers bailed out at the last minute and so my church stepped in a provided some hands in order to pull the event off. They asked us back this year, which we considered a privilege to help out in any way we can. We want to be good for the city, and sometimes that means setting up booths for doggy day care spas.

Woofstock, in short it was a gathering of dog lovers to make much of their dogs by treating them like people and buying them a bunch of crap they don't need. Apart from all the commentary I could make on the ridiculousness of this experience(which could very well go on forever), I want to focus shortly on one thing. In the suburbs, people will go to great lengths, and spend exuberant amounts of money to please their dogs and impress their neighbors, but would never even think of doing half the work it took to pull of an event like Woofstock for displaced people groups in Africa or sex trade victims in Asia. This is one more reason why we need Jesus so much, and why apart from the good news of the Cross, we are just selfish idolators who rob God of his glory by giving it to other things. This event had professional dog etiquette trainers, custom made oak dog kennels, and gourmet dog biscuit companies. Anything and everything you could think of to get for your canine friend was advertised and demonstrated for your consumer pleasure. Here's the problem: While I happen to love dogs and have owned and treasured many of my own, a dog is not a worthy thing to devote this kind of time, talent and treasure on. In the global and eternal scale of things, Woofstock was(apart from a chance to point our community to Jesus) an exercise in futility. It did not ease suffering in the world, it did not change things on a eternal level, and most people are going to forget about it tomorrow. I don't want to devote my life to such useless commodities and activities. I want to say at the end of my life that it wasn't about music, writing, people, relationships, money, style or experience. I weep for those who stand before Jesus and try to explain why they spent $500 on a custom dog kennel when somewhere in the world, a child dies every 5 seconds from starvation. Even in the suburban facade of mellow, pleasant perfection, things are more dire than we think, people are more broken than we can possibly imagine and devotion ends up in the most impotent of places. That is why I'm so thankful for Jesus, because He loved the rich, religious and resilient Pharisees with a deep and unrelenting passion. And although they for the most part did not repent, there IS hope for us in Suburbia, who have the same problems. Maybe we can repent of our apathy, consumerism and counterfeit righteousness and turn to trust in the Savior who died for our fake piety, so we could take on his genuine holiness. Maybe we can focus our lives away from worthless things and on to a hurting, dying world that is bleeding out and doesn't even know it. Maybe Woofstock will turn into Save-an-orphans-lifestock(not as catchy, i know). Maybe suburban life can be known for generosity and love and mercy. Maybe.