Choosing One Master


Subject: response to Sean Corbett

Hi Ray,

This is a response to Sean Corbett's letter on Page 47 of the letters pages on your website. (Click here to read it.) I just saw it now and wanted to throw my two cents in.

At 24 and somewhat fresh out of college, I may be totally young and naive and inexperienced in the world...BUT, my advice to Sean is this:

Last January I started working full-time as a cashier at a supermarket that I was already working part-time at. I didn't even make it a week before I said, "wait, there's something very wrong here." I am not alive right now. I am doing the exact same thing over and over again, day after day, and I am not alive anymore. I am in stasis. I am dead."

Not only did I feel that being "dead" was completely uncool and un-fun, but I actually went so far as to call it a sin. Yes, a sin. I said to myself, "treating my body like this - abusing the very human spirit that God blessed me with - is evil and God is really pissed at me now." In other words (and perhaps I'm speaking figuratively here but may not be) I thought I would go to hell if I kept working at the supermarket! So I quit. Immediately. Goodbye supermarket! Kiss my friggin' ass! Ha-ha!

But there was one little problem: I was broke. And I needed money. Well, I THOUGHT I needed money.

After I quit the job, I thought about my situation long and hard. I remembered how, in the Bible, Jesus says you can't worship both God and money:

Matthew 6:24 (New International Version)

24"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.


I applied this bit of wisdom to my own contemporary reality and I figured I can't worship both capitalism (the system my job at the supermarket and almost all other jobs in America are a part of) and God. Because capitalism (where profits=good and losses=evil) is a system where all of one's faith is put into money. I had to choose between one or the other.

So from that point forward I said I wasn't going to work for capitalism anymore. I was just going to work for God, and, to me, working for God was simply creating art (in my case, writing screenplays, making films etc.) and reading good books, watching good movies, writing essays, playing fun sports, going out with friends, picking up chicks, falling in love - in short, LIVING.

But this wasn't as easy as it seemed (obviously). Immediately after I left the world of capitalism I assessed my finances and I determined I would only be able to go about two months before I hit "rock bottom" and be totally broke. The logical, rational and "sane" person would foresee this fact and immediately start looking for another job within the capitalist world. But I decided to be illogical, irrational and insane. I said, "Tell ya what, God! If I work for you, you better help me out, man, because if I do anything else I'm going to be working against you and, thus, sinning!"

So I worked for God and God only, and not only did I go further than the two months before hitting rock bottom, but I have actually, to this date, made it just shy of a year. How am I getting the money? Well, in very weird ways that no rational, logical, sane person could ever imagine. The problem is that it doesn't come until the very moment that I need it. And when I say NEED, I mean NEED. After I quit my job I said to myself, "Oh, man, I need money. I'm totally screwed!" But the fact of the matter was that I didn't need it. I THOUGHT I needed it.

Fear of going broke is the devil messing with you. It's what the broken system of capitalism is based on and why it still exists and is so powerful. People are always saying to themselves "I have to CAPITALIZE, CAPITALIZE, CAPITALIZE"...because they fear that if they don't, they will go broke in the near future. But the fact of the matter is that they don't need this money. They only think that they do. I would go out on a limb and say that between 75%-90% of the money capitalism makes for people is not needed. It all just ends up being hoarded and wasted on useless materials and services.

Anyway, for about a year now I've been taking what I now refer to as a simple "leap of faith" - putting all my trust in God and no trust whatsoever in the capitalist system that is so broke it's almost absurd. So far, I've been ok. Every time that I've gotten to a point where I literally have no money in my wallet (and in my bank account) I either stumble upon more money (in the form of an odd job or two) or I think of a creative way to get some. And the key word there is 'creative' - when you are creative you are alive and thus the process of making that money is not a sin.

The BIG TEST is whether putting all my faith in God will, at some point, allow me to live in this life as a financially independent being. In other words, if I keep taking this so-called "leap of faith" will I actually get to a point where I will make a living as a truly living (and not a spiritually dead) being? I am, after all, still living with my parents, so I can't say that taking my leap of faith has led me in this direction...yet. I do, however, believe that I will be able to leave home without surrendering my spirit to capitalism at any point. But it takes work and patience and a lot (and I mean A LOT) of trials and tribulations.

The devil is going to pull out all the stops to try and make me abandon God and join the much 'safer' world of capitalism. In fact, he already has. He's taken away my health insurance. My car. My CD collection. My DVD collection. My Video Games. My dignity. My respect. My freedom (i.e. the kind of freedom money gives you). He's made me look like an absolute bum in front of friends, family, grandparents and a couple of really hot chicks I wanted to get with one time. He's also managed to successfully convince ME that I am a bum and that I don't deserve to be alive. And then, on top of everything, he's made me into a total ASSHOLE, a dude who's oftentimes too depressed and pissed off at the misguided world that nobody wants to be around him! The list goes on and on and on.

But I think it's only a matter of time before I will win this war between good and evil and put the devil in his place. I'll let you know when I do. I'll also let you know if I don't, because I'm not sure if I will.

So that's my advice to Sean. Take the leap of faith. Work for God and make your films. He'll be a better employer than any boss you'll work under in the capitalist world. You'll get a salary to survive off of. It won't be an hourly one, or a weekly one, or a bi-weekly one. But you'll get your money. You won't starve.

Best Wishes,

Matt Burns

NOTE: Nothing I said above is guaranteed. I cannot be held liable for any starvation you or your family endures as a result of taking my advice. Thank you.

 


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