Read this article and then let's talk about "stuff."
I read the above discussion of Madewell recently and I've had so many thoughts about it since. But what I keep coming back to is wondering why this all matters so much. I understand wanting corporate integrity and I understand the value of thinking carefully about our material culture. But I really struggle with the importance we as younger Americans give our material culture.
Correction, I struggle with the almost transcendent meaning we give it. The way we think about, treat, and value the objects around is very important. But the younger generations in American have such strong opinions about their material culture that I really think they verge on giving transcendent meaning to it. It's fascinating when the author points out that the people who created the Madewell label he's lamenting probably could have cared less about the meaning behind it all and would rather have cared more about the accomplishment brought about by it.
Engaging with material culture is something I still feel like I don't have a good grasp on as a Christian. For most people throughout the world, navigating the "stuff" in their lives is not of utmost importance. But then again, lacking "stuff" doesn't always mean you're not controlled by the desire to acquire stuff. Maybe we all struggle with the material world around us no matter how much or little we have.
Tonight I listened to a speaker talk about our striving for the perfect relationship and how when we put that dream relationship onto a pedestal it turns us into "apocalyptic romantics." The relationship and our desire to attach transcendent meaning to it will ultimately turn it into our own personal apocalypse. This is what I see happening with our material culture in America today. My generation has recognized the problems of a previous generation's consumeristic throw-away culture. But in my opinion all that we've substituted it with is just an "apocalyptic materialism." The things and brands and toys and technology cannot sustain the weight of meaning we give them. The authenticity, the craft, the inherent goodness will cave in on itself and become just one more in a long line of privileged disappointments.