Thursday, May 08, 2008

Dream Big, Live Small

Last week whilst he was with us in Manchester Shane Claiborne used a really catchy little phrase that I think I'm going to adopt as my own: 'Dream Big, Live Small'. My thoughts have been quite occupied recently with how I prevent my life getting 'bigger' year on year. I think this may be because last year was such a dramatic year of growth, which bugs me. Our growing family meant we moved from a little 2 bed apartment to a full blown 3 bed house, and in the process I bought a new car, which happened to be bigger than the old one (again a family thing, boot space etc). But basically I'm hoping that this is as big as we'll get. I'm hoping that the Wilson's have 'topped out' in terms of bigness. Indeed I'm even thinking about how I can take a benchmark of our current bigness (e.g. utilities used, recycling achieved, miles driven etc.) so that I can actually prove to myself that I'm not still expanding 2 or 3 years from now but hopefully contracting and reducing. 
Yesterday I was surfing from blog to blog, following the links to see where I'd end up and I stumbled upon a sort of cool, American emerging church type with a motto emblazoned on his header image: 'LIVE VENTI'. For those unfamiliar with Starbucks lingo it's the biggest size they do (20 oz / 600ml) - it's their equivalent of McDonald's Supersize (now banned I think). There was a photo of this guy, looking cool, not fat at all. It was then that Shane's catchphrase popped back into my mind. If Shane were to go all Starbucks on us tomorrow (which isn't likely to happen is it) that would mean he might start saying 'DREAM VENTI, LIVE SHORT' (short being Starbuck's smallest size). And therein lies a profound difference. 
If we're to live lives inspired and informed by the life and Spirit of Jesus we will indeed aspire to great things, venti things - but not for our own gratification. This isn't about my venti house, my venti car, my venti coffee, my venti anything! In an over-crowded, under-resourced world we should dare to dream venti dreams, like seeing wars end, clean water for all and trade becoming just. But we should also to take a long hard look at our own footprint on the world and ensure that we're not undermining our own aspirations with our default venti consumer lifestyles. Let's have a revolution of thought like the one brought about by the famous 1960 VW ad that flew in the face of the zeitgeist of the day and showed another way...

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danbo1984 said...

Superb piece of commentary: very well said - I think that's the bit of many Christians' "becoming more Christ-like"ness that they find most difficult; big revoutionary thoughts that change the world, coupled with small degree of personal acquisitiveness.
Your blog is rapidly becoming required reading, and is balm to the soul of a jaded Central London commmuter, who tries to take God with him, but tends to leave him in a box once he's got there. God bless you matey.

Matt Wilson said...

Hi Dan, good to hear from you again and thanks for your comment. Hope to offer more balm in the days ahead!