Friday, August 19, 2011

An irresistible contrast

I'm so taken aback, I don't know what to say. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut (or my keyboard silent). After all, who am I to judge? I have my own excesses (to a degree). For instance, I buy a smoothie about once every six months. But when a friend of mine came back from a trip talking about a store he couldn't believe existed, I was -- well, taken aback. And however generous the people are who might frequent this store, I still can't manage to accept its appropriateness. As far as I'm concerned, it's a symbol of why some people in this world suffer without adequate food and water while others party. It's a picture of the excesses of western materialism while western newspapers tabulate how many children are dying in the horn of Africa.

I'm speaking of doll spas. American Girl doll spas. Where parents can take their little girls to have their $100 doll's hair done, or their doll's nails done, or their doll's ears pierced. Here's what else is available: "Our stylists will give her doll a thorough facial scrub to get her clean. And to keep her feeling relaxed, we'll send her home with a pampering set featuring cucumber stickers for her eyes, nail decals, flip-flops, a salon cape, and a faux face mask." And that's not all. There are photo sessions for dolls. And you can take your child and her dolly out for a dining experience as well.

So while bony little black children line up for a pot of porridgy food in some arid refugee camp, we use the extra dollars in our wallets to take our child's toy doll to the spa.

No, I'm under no naive illusion that all the world's poverty problems will simply go away if we send all our discretionary income to relief organizations. Corruption, power struggles and vested interests often get in the way. But I also know that the more we spend on ourselves and our toys, and the less we share with others, the less people will be helped as well.

© 2011 by Ken Peters


Anonymous said...

When followers of Jesus live more in the presence of the world than the presence of God, it produces the same thing the world produces.

The church has a responsibility to the poor and that starts with the poor right outside their door.

Ken said...

Totally agreed.

Laurence said...

I knew you'd have something on this topic! I'm wondering about this very thing... "even the least of these" is on my mind, and my need to have my finances in order