Foolish thoughts on goodie bags, generosity and the next 40 days…

Pacific QuayThe Creative Fool was up in time to see the sun rise over Pacific Quay this morning. Here’s the transcript of my Thought for the Day and you can also catch the two minutes of chat by clicking here and scrolling forward to 01:18:45. I hope it challenges you, as it did me, to think about living generously during Lent. If you’d like some ideas on how to do that, have a look at http://www.40acts.org.uk.

The company I work for has a props and costume store which is pleasingly categorised and labelled. My favourite description is the “suitcase of debauchery”. This neat container holds a selection of items such as old beer cans, fake cigarettes and some plastic vomit. All essential tools of my trade.

It’s been reported that nominees at the 2016 Academy Awards will receive their own bag of debauchery worth 200,000 dollars. The goody bag contains, amongst other less broadcastable items, a Vampire breast enhancement procedure utilising the patient’s own blood, an electronic vaporiser worth $249 and a ten day holiday to Israel with private security included.

The goody bags don’t do much to restore faith in a ceremony troubled by the ‘OscarsSoWhite’ protest and they highlight the power of celebrity endorsement as a means of making money for global corporations. Each object seems symbolic of the pursuit of physical perfection and personal comfort over emotional depth and sacrifice, and the idea that peace can be bought for the right price.

It’s naive to think that an awards ceremony is simply an awards ceremony. The entertainment industry is exactly that – an industry, where money, sex and power hold the same sway as in any other area of life.

All this feels a million miles away from the concept of Lent, the 40-day season leading up to Easter. In recent years, a number of campaigns have set out to promote Lent less as a chance to cut out the chocolate, and more as an opportunity to live simply and generously. There are a number of online  suggestions for daily acts of kindness, environmental actions and ways of promoting peace in the lead-up to Easter.

I’ve been thinking about how to spend the next 40 days creating a fairer, less greedy, more thoughtful version of myself and I’ve been challenged by the story of the widow’s mite. Amongst the noisy givers in the temple, Jesus spotted a poor woman sliding a couple of pennies into the offering plate. He said that by giving all she had out of her poverty, she had given more than anyone who chose to give a little out of their wealth. The contents of our goody bags and our wallets reveal something of who we are, and the challenge of Lent is to learn to give generously.

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