Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I'd rather ...


  • luxurious self-indulgence.
  • moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.
e.g., "he denounced the decadence of the elite"
synonyms: dissipation, degeneracy, corruption, moral decay, immorality
The word decadence, which at first meant simply "decline" in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity, religious faith, or skill in governance, most seen among members of the elite.

The greatest risk faced by a successful civilization is perhaps visible when great progress turns inward to luxury, purposeless wealth, and a self-centrality that is blind to the world of others.  ... with ten or a hundred times more than enough, they don't even notice that they're blind.  They say they can see clearly.

On a storytelling day, he talked about sorting two kinds of people like a shepherd sorting out sheep and goats, these to the right and the others to the left. (I doubt he had anything against either one; it was probably just an easy visual for his hearers.)  

To the people on the right, he commended them for their good hearted service and welcomed them into his home, but they were dumfounded.  "When ever did we serve so well as to be rewarded like this?"  "When you served the least among you, it's me you've served," was the answer, or words to that effect.

To those on the left, he commanded them to leave, reminding them that they had served only themselves and had habitually neglected the needs of others, they had turned a blind eye. Something like that, anyway.  The poor and hungry, the sick and those in prison, the widows and orphans, all pretty much ignored, I suppose, while the goats just ate and got fat.  Decadence.

Favorite friends -- five kids in the family; dad lost his arm in an accident.
After recovering, stateside friend of mine sponsored them for a couple 
of years.  Roberta (NGO Coordinator) coached them through rebuilding 
their house, adding floors and bed pads, getting the kids back in school.  
They took off from there; ran pipes for a water spigot in their front yard, 
bought some breeding pigs and ducks, and they cultivate a 500x500 foot 
garden that adds a lot to their survival.  Last time I visited, they were 
bursting with pride at the progress they'd made.  They have electricity 
now, too.  They did all the hard work themselves with just a little help.
for materials and stuff.
2016 Update: after four years, dad is working again, and the family has
some regular income; mom and the kids tend the home business; things 
are going pretty well.

For a look at the difference one might make, remember there were many who helped slaves flee to the North, and there were many who hid Jews and fed them during the war years.  Today there are many who help those trapped in poverty, deprived in a world that's rich and blind.  

Did you know that you can put a kid through regular school and then trade school for the price of a nice television?  You can sponsor a family's progress building a home, planting crops, and putting their kids through school for less than it takes to insure your car.  Change makers and help bringers are among us; be one of them.

Would you rather live in luxury or in making a difference in the lives of others?   Easy choice.  :)