Monday, February 09, 2009

Blessed are...

Here's an interesting problem:

“As hard as it is to believe, bankers who are living on the Upper East Side making $2 or $3 million a year have set up a life for themselves in which they are also at zero at the end of the year with credit cards and mortgage bills that are inescapable,” said Holly Peterson, the author of an Upper East Side novel of manners, “The Manny,” and the daughter of Peter G. Peterson, a founder of the equity firm the Blackstone Group. “Five hundred thousand dollars means taking their kids out of private school and selling their home in a fire sale.”
You can read the rest of the article to find out just why this happens; how all the average expenditures add up to more than one brings in. It seems familiar to anyone trying to maintain a middle class life style, even if it takes 123,000 in Manhattan to buy what $50,000 buys in Houston. But what explains this? Fortunately, Candace Bushnell explains it all for you:

“People inherently understand that if they are going to get ahead in whatever corporate culture they are involved in, they need to take on the appurtenances of what defines that culture,” she said. “So if you are in a culture where spending a lot of money is a sign of success, it’s like the same thing that goes back to high school peer pressure. It’s about fitting in.”
So you need those appurtenances whether you can afford them or not. How sad is it that, even at the top of the world's economic ladder, nothing changes? Not that one really expects it to, sad, anyway.

This is why Jesus didn't speak of the poor, he spoke of the ptochoi, the destitute, those without anything, or any hope of having anything. The beggars, the prostitutes, the devastated and stepped on. this is why he ended the parable of the unjust servant talking about making friends of the children of this world, so they can welcome you into the eternal homes. Isn't that what money and power and status are supposed to buy? Not the appurtenances, but the reality itself? And if that fails, what replaces it? And just how real are those appurtenances, anyway?

Just like a preacher, makin' an object lesson out of everything, ain't it?

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