Sharing as a Radical Idea?

A couple of weeks ago I heard a story broadcast on National Public Radio.  The story was part of a special series called “The Sharing Economy: A Shift Away from Ownership.”

The story explains the sharing economy as a peer to peer economy, a phenomenon that has been made possible through technology but also because Americans today are coming to terms with scarcity in their lives. Quoting the piece,  “Sharing is not new… after all, e-bay has been around awhile and the Craig’s List auction of unwanted junk is more or less a staple of modern life.”

Hmm.  Did e-bay or Craig’s list introduce the concept of sharing?

Later in the story the ideas of participating in a peer to peer economy are described as “decisions driven by necessity” and that renting out part of your home to a total stranger is “kind of a radical idea.”

As I listened to this story I wondered whether any of the people involved in writing, recording or producing the piece had ever encountered holy scripture (let alone ever held the time-honored garage sale).  Had they ever heard the story of Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre? Or of the mutual love described in Hebrews 13 (“do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it)?  Or heard of the “awe that came upon everyone when all who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need…” as was described in The Acts of the Apostles?

Thankfully, part of the story included an interesting description of what a contributor called a “blue die” moment; a medical metaphor attempting to describe the malady of waste that pervades our culture:  The financial crisis of 2009 was the “blue die moment” that has allowed us to see the waste we haven’t seen before; that those of us with plenty might actually share what we have with those who have not.  But that was as good as the story got, and methinks I’m putting as good a spin as possible on that point.  The story concluded with the fact that the peer to peer economy will allow millions of Americans to “make a little extra money and help us connect to each other.”  Apparently our new economy and community involves only those who have waste to share, high-speed internet and money to pay.

Love is not driven by “necessity” but rather by mutuality.  If community and connectivity are byproducts of making a “little extra money” we are surely in deep trouble.  Jesus became “poor” so that we could become “rich.”  At the crucifixion nobody made any money, and everyone was saved.

Happy Monday,


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1 Response to Sharing as a Radical Idea?

  1. twylafultz says:

    Poor so that we become rich…thank you . . , this is the “rich” to which I really care. . .

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