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Category Archives: Materialism

Last night, Jamie announced via a bulletin on MySpace that a few shirts from To Write Love On Her Arms which have previously been available only online are now being sold in Hot Topic. Jamie hasn’t written the “official” announcement of it, however, so we haven’t heard the full story…like, what’s the plan, why exactly they decided to take this route, etc. So, it goes without saying, I think, that the reaction has been mixed so far, according many of the 500+ comments so far. They range from angry cries of “sell out” and worries that people will just wear them to be trendy without regard to the meaning, to excitement at the new opportunities and literally (from a few) shouts of joy that they can finally have these shirts since they can’t/don’t like to order things from online stores.

My response to the bulletin is below…it was too long to post on MySpace, so I’m putting it here:

So…yeah…this is gonna be loooong…..

I really appreciate everyone’s comments on this, even the upset comments that are little more than words expressing anger. I have to admit that I’m quite conflicted about this, as I see both the ups and downs. At first, it seems it’s at once needed and undesirable. But, reflecting on this brought a quote by C.S. Lewis to mind.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

I think this fits here, because the purpose of TWLOHA _is_ to spread the idea of love and hope to everyone, not just a select few. And, what better outlet than HT, since so many supportive bands sell merch through HT? (Paramore, Boys Like Girls, Jonzetta, Gym Class Heroes, Panic! at the Disco, Bayside, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Hawthorne Heights…) And, honestly…when was the last time any of you saw anything that so plainly spoke of love or promised hope at Hot Topic?

The hard thing about Love is that it must be shared; otherwise, it isn’t love. But, in sharing it, you open yourself up to that same love being misused, misunderstood, ignored, or even rejected. Surely, all of these things might happen to the message of TWLOHA with some people who buy the shirts. But, a) that’s not TWLOHA’s fault, and b) you can’t change that, because it’s bound to happen eventually if this movement is to penetrate further into the public eye. But, though this is certainly a risky thing to do, riskier still is to hold onto this love and keep it for ourselves. For, if we do that, as Lewis so eloquently points out, the love becomes dead and useless.

So, in the end, I have to trust that, as they’ve shown in the past, Jamie and the staff at TWLOHA have approached this very carefully and are planning every step of the way to the best of their ability. I doubt they would intentionally do anything to damage the image or effectiveness of their organization, so I think it’s pretty fair to trust them. And I do.

Remember that this movement started with one girl’s story, and it continues every day with our stories. If you see people with the shirts on, kindly start conversation with them about it, whether they know about it or not. If they don’t care, you can’t help that. And there will be those who don’t and won’t no matter what. But, let that encourage you (and me) to be even more bold and honest with the sharing of your story (or your friend’s, or RenĂ©es, or whoever’s) with those who will listen, and to even more humbly love and serve those who feel the most unloved.

I hope all is well. Take care.

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I’m looking for an orphanage
I’m looking for a bridge I can’t burn down
I don’t believe the emptiness
I’m looking for the Kingdom coming down

Everything is meaningless
I want more than simple cash can buy

Happy is a yuppie word
Happy is a yuppie word
Happy is a yuppie word
Happy is a yuppie word

Nothing is sound

“Happy Is A Yuppie Word,” from Nothing Is Sound by Switchfoot

This is a tragedy.

The title of the article: “Start Now, Retire Early”

“February 1998–
Bob and Penny took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot troller, play softball, and collect shells.”

That’s a tragedy! That’s a tragedy!

And there are people in this country who are spending billions of dollars to get you to buy it. I plead to you with all my heart, don’t buy that dream. The American Dream: a nice house, a nice car, a nice job, a nice family, a nice retirement collecting shells, as the last chapter before you stand before the Creator of the universe to give an account with what you did.

“Here it is, Lord: my shell collection! Look, Lord! My shell collection! And I’ve got a good [golf] swing! And look at my boat!

God?

Look at my boat, God…”

John Piper, message at Passion: One Day, given on Memorial Day 2000 at Shelby Farms, Memphis, TN

It’s much easier to fight for ourselves and to strive for goals and dreams which are tangible and which benefit us than it is to serve others. I imagine that’s why we all tend toward the former as opposed to the latter. But, at the end of the day, financial success and social success will have come and they will have gone. Right now, opportunities to love others and die to ourselves are all around. One selfless decision, action, conversation, or even one selfless word can make a lasting difference.

Do you have time? Give it away. Do you have excess money? Give it away. Do you have talents or skills? Give them away and use them for the good of the community, whether local or distant. Do you have a wealth of knowledge? Give it away and teach those you come into contact with. Do you have a past (or present) filled with suffering and hardship which you conquered or even merely survived? Give it away and share your story with others in the dark places in life, even if their situation doesn’t match yours.

Do you have love?

Give it away.