Christian PiattKeymasterMarch 4, 2015 at 4:33 pmPost count: 3
So yeah, I’m giving away half of my personal possessions (stuff that also belongs to my wife is exempt so she won’t divorce me), and (surprise!) I’ve gotten offers from loads of “friends” offering to take various items off my hands. Now, most of them are kidding – I think – but people are laying claim on everything form my laptop to my iPhone, and even my beer!
But obviously that’s not the point. Mike, one of our fellow MJP community members, asked me why exactly I’m planning to give this stuff away. Here’s what I said:
Part of it simply is inspired by John the Baptist’s call to “Give half of our possessions away to the poor.” In addition, it’s part of an ascetic practice to be mindful of everything I have, and to assess the difference between wants and needs. Third, I’ve found that giving things away actually reminds me of my own abundance far more than getting more stuff. So I’m exploring that as a month-long practice.
And finally, my hope is that it will cause other folks pause and maybe inspire them to try something similar. As I’ve noted in some of my posts, determining exactly what “half” is is kind of impossible, but the point is to look deeply, give deeply and be very present to the power my possessions have over me in my life.
But that’s only part of it. I also have to decide what to do with it all. So I’m asking you…
-Do I set it out on the yard and tell people, “Come and get it”?
-Do I give it all to Goodwill?
-Do I have a garage sale and give it to a charity?
-Do I put the money toward our “Feeding 5000” project?
-Do I give away the basics, then auction off the more valuable stuff on eBay?
Like I said, this is your project too. So tell me what you think. And if you’re doing any sort of “giving away” practice this month in solidarity with my “Jesus the Ascetic” month, let the rest of us know!
MarkParticipantMarch 5, 2015 at 11:18 amPost count: 1
If it were me, I’d donate most of it to a specifically not-for-profit thrift store whose earnings are used for poverty. I think Goodwill is for-profit. The Salvation Army or one of the many smaller charitable thrift stores (we a “St. Vincent dePaul” thrift store by our house) is a good option.
I’d sell the bigger-ticket items on ebay and then donate that money to a a group that focus on poverty advocacy and organizing (like the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign) or a group that balances charity and action (like a nearby Catholic Worker community).
BartParticipantMarch 29, 2015 at 3:28 amPost count: 2
Hi Christian, I want to encourage you to be radical in your ascetism: you are free from that stuff already, it’s not yours anymore ( so no need to sell it or try to influence its destination). Use your inspired heart, give to friends and strangers using gut feeling or random, or just put it on the street with a ” please take for free” sign. Blessings, Bart
Ps only exception is half of your books, which you can send to me, of course 🙂
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