Tag Archives: slavery

the lies we buy

greatness

greatness awaits.

that’s the new catch phrase being used by sony playstation to promote their new gaming console. a series of scenes showing men  in medieval times battling each other with swords and battle axes, racing fast cars and leading futuristic armies against one another make up the bulk of the commercial. the men sing the late lou reed’s ‘a perfect day’ as they do all this, adding a bit of humour while alluding to the ‘connectedness’ of the on-line gaming culture.

i get it. its smart advertising on sony’s part. men have a natural inclination towards exploring and conquering. it seems to be in our genes. so in one fell swoop, sony was able to portray a product that enables its users to explore new worlds, save humanity from an alien invasion and score the winning goal in fifa world cup.  and you can do it all in one afternoon with your buddies, if you like.

smart.

i don’t want to critique video games or even the people who play them, though i must admit that’s my first inclination. i used to play video games when i was younger so i’d only be a hypocrite if i took that approach. i’d prefer to critique the motto driving this current product – greatness awaits.

video games used to be for kids and youth. today, the demographic has shifted to men in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. with the demographic shift has come a shift in content for games. video game companies focus more on marketing to the older crowd using war, racing and sports.

again, i get it. it’s smart to go after this demographic since they have both the money and time to invest.

smart business.

what gets me is that men are more willing to spend their hard-earned money on, invest their precious time in and build community around/within video games when real greatness awaits them outside of all this.

i agree with sony that “greatness awaits”, but i disagree where we will find it.

i like the quote by martin luther king, jr where he says, “not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”   instead of entertaining ourselves with great things, shouldn’t we be employing our gifts, talents and resources in great service to those that need them?
issues to give your gifts, talents and resources to:

a growing movement of people are standing up against all the forms of slavery in our world, but more are needed.  human rights groups estimate that anywhere between 12.3 million and 27 million people are enslaved in forced or bonded labour, child labour, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time.

world hunger and poverty still needs a lot of hands on deck. the united nations food and agriculture organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

how much does a video game console cost? this latest sony product is pushing $1000.

there is still a large need for big brothers or sisters everywhere. many youth are growing up without any positive role models to help them navigate their lives – education, employment, health, drugs, etc. mentoring can go a long way in the life of a child.

i could also mention the unnecessary wars being fought with corporate profits and not people in mind, or the environmental degradation and exploitation happening all over the globe, or the racism, sexism and prejudice that need people actively working against.

but these things don’t get the sexy commercials and airtime that sony money can buy.

great things do await us, but i don’t think it’s found in the escapism of video games (or any other things – alcohol, sports, tv, politics – we use for escapism) but involvement in the real issues that affect the communities we live in, the countries we inhabit and the world we must leave to our great-grandchildren.

true greatness awaits us, if we choose to pursue and sacrifice for it.

/rantover

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the big OK

the ‘hope’ in hope cottage is fitting.

the area surrounding hope cottage houses a lot of people who live under the poverty line.  there are two men’s homeless shelters about 5 minute walk away.  theres a womens shelter four doors down and another one 10 minutes away.  several small and large public housing buildings dot the urban landscape.  the public row housing and duplex units are all around the cottage.

we have a policy that we only serve meals to adults.  any kids younger than 19 cant eat at the cottage.  when i asked eddie what that was, i was told it was to protect them.  there are known convicted child molesters living in the area who come to the cottage for food.  kids can get sandwiches to go but they cant stay and eat.  i understand why but its still something thats hard for me to swallow.  why should convicted child molesters get precedence over the kids in the community?  i guess if you dont know all the possible offenders then its better to air on the side of caution.
understood.

a lot of addicts come for breakfast and dinner daily.  alcohol, crack, opiates – most people fall into one or a couple of these addictions.  escaping reality and filling the addiction become the invisible shackles and chains.

invisible slavery.

im not using that word as a hyperbole either.  i mean literal slavery defined as ‘the condition of being subject or addicted to a specified influence.’

it kills me to see what some people will do to themselves and others to fill their addictions and appease their slave owners (drugs).  im sure you are no different.  most of us have had to deal with a friend or family member who had a destructive addiction.  theres a certain helplessness that comes from seeing them destroy themselves..

after talking with some other community stake holders, i came up with an idea.  its nothing original or mind-boggling but i think its some thing desperately needed in this community.  the idea is a grass-roots recovery program for addicts.  redeemed and recovered addicts helping current addicts gain the freedom they need to live their lives more abundantly and productively.

eddie, one of the main guys at hope cottage, is a recovered addict after spending a considerable amount of his life battling substance abuse.  after failed attempts at sobriety eddie explained to me that God came to his rescue.  the physical solutions couldnt fix what was a spiritual problem.

the same thing happened with my uncle, peter.  addictions, too, had plagued him and caused him to spiral out of control and make life decisions that were destructive.  God showed up to him in a powerful way and delivered him from his slavery to substance abuse as well.

both these men call the north end of halifax home and they both have a huge heart for the addicts in their community.

the director of the cottage just gave us the big OK to start a recovery group in the new year.  with the leading of God and behind the incredible testimonies of redemption from eddie and peter, i think this is going to be a powerful opportunity to see restorative justice done in our city.

all prayers and well wishes welcomed 🙂

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