Sunday, May 18, 2008

Manufacturing Abundance

It's nice to be home from Kaua'i...and it's not. I loved the trip. It certainly was (as Jared wished us) life-giving.

It gave me some time to get away and think (and not think). One of the things I thought about was my ongoing inner dialogue about scarcity versus abundance. I used to think about this in a purely abstract, theoretical way. But these days, I think of it more in terms of life, mainly.

I have tried to shift paradigms over the last years, from a deeply entrenched idea of scarcity into a more generous world of abundance. I hoped that if God's economy was an economy of abundance, then I should embrace that and move beyond our very capitalistic idea of scarcity.

But I realized that, true to Ryan Sharp form, I found myself burned out and pissed off at the end of a few years of "trying on" abundance as a paradigm for how I measure and distribute myself, my money, and my time/energy/whatnot. I have thought about this at great length over the last several months and had an epiphany in Kaua'i: I have not been living naturally in this World of Abundance; I have been manufacturing this world.

Do you see what I mean here?

I am not suggesting that God's economy is false or not real. No, no. This comes down to me. I tend to force things that don't come naturally. And this is what I have done again. Instead of living in response to God's abundance, I sort of forced myself into Abundance. And I find myself tired and wanting. I chalked it up as virtue being costly along the way, but I think of the Tao te Ching proverb that I posted month's back: High Virtue is non-virtuous. Therefore it has virtue. And by that definition, I have lived into Low Virtue (a sort of idolizing of virtue). This is something I think about.


Anonymous said...

You're thinking you pursued virtue for the sake of the virtue and not for the effect of the virtue?

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

I think it's like physical therapy versus yoga. The first pushes the muscles to help them grow. The second relaxes the muscles into their "proper" place. I am so drawn to the second option, but I live my life mostly like the first. And that's what I mean.

It's an approach to attaining that virtue/effect that I'm speaking to here.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand that, bro. Thats a great analogy, and in that, we think/feel alike. :)

secret said...

i don't quite get it, but I want to understand. can you post again with more detail. What do you mean by "generous world of abundance" and "capitalistic idea of scarcity"? Can you give specific examples? I feel like I'm struggling in the same way. But I don't know how to express it to even myself in a way that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

that's very interesting. i don't know if it will ever come naturally. your frustration may come from trying to find the life(morality,philosophy,identity,political side) that God is pleased with when He is already pleased with you. maybe you just need to be. fruit of the spirit are love,joy,peace,patience...etc.