Skip to main content

so much stuff

have you ever been overwhelmed at the sheer number of things in this world? i mean, haven't you ever sat in a city eating a hot dog and considered just how many hot dogs will be eaten in that same city on that day? or in the world on that day? or just how much mystery meat was used to make said hot dogs? or how many hot dogs will end up in the garbage? or how many trucks it took to ship those dogs? or how much fuel it cost to move those trucks? or how many lives it costs to buy the right to that fuel? (oops, that last one was more than i meant so say - sorry.)

but seriously, haven't you ever been overwhelmed at the sheer number of things in this big world? with all apologies to uncle walt, i know that its a small world, after all, but its full of millions of hot dogs. and shoes. and front doors. and discarded computers. and soda cans. don't believe me?

here is what self-proclaimed photographic artist chris jorday has to say:

Exploring around our country’s shipping ports and industrial yards, where the accumulated detritus of our consumption is exposed to view like eroded layers in the Grand Canyon, I find evidence of a slow-motion apocalypse in progress. I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination. The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity.

he is so fascinated by all this stuff, all this immensity, all this more-than-enough, that he takes pictures of it. check out his amazing website here.

this is one of his pictures. it depicts 75,000 shipping containers (the things that tractor-trailers are often pulling, or that you see on trains). that's the number of shipping containers that come into our ports in the US every freaking day. SO MUCH STUFF!
i don't know about you, but i can easily become overwhelmed and feel like i am drowning in a sea of cell phones, a flood of french fries, and a tsunami of cd's. when i think about all of this stuff on such a global scale, it really does make world hunger seem like a ridiculous problem, you know? somehow, someway, we ought to be able to get resources to people who need them, not just people who want more and more of them to satisfy the growing holes in their souls. i guess i am ranting now. sorry. just go look at his art for yourself. and be overwhelmed. i'm going to go get a hot dog...


cathyq said…
Wow, the pictures are amazing and yes overwhelming. It is a complex and "motley" world filled with lots of stuff. I think that is one of the reasons that I love the ocean so much. As far as I can see, there is nothing but water, just water. No other stuff. I cannot wait for Maine to stare at the beautiful and peaceful water and be uncluttered in my mind and body. Leave the hotdogs at home, but don't forget the coffee!

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

vote. and pray. but do not be afraid (the King is alive).

i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government.  i know i'm not.  in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points.  i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be.  i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it.  i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture.  perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns. 

which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i…