Book Review: Enough by Will Samson

To start, let's just say this book wasn't at all what I expected.

I had expected Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will Samson to be a long rant about how much plastic we consume, the Barbies and shopping malls that brainwash us into buying, buying, buying, and the awfulness of capitalism. Instead, in this fairly-quick read (just 160 pages) was a very thoughtful look not at WHAT we're consuming, but what it is doing to us- to our bodies, environment, economy, and community. The book is also very timely (as in, go read it NOW), talking about the recession that we are now in and some of the causes.

That said, this isn't a rant, or a scolding. Samson is writing to Christians specifically- he says so in the introduction. He expands on ways the consumer culture is ruining our churches and our spiritual lives, and suggests the alternative of Eucharistic community. At the end of the last few chapters, there are really, really practical suggestions that help combat consumerism in our lives. I appreciated the ideas like "Spend locally" "Eat together" and "Get out of your car". Stuff I can do, and stuff I can be aware of in my day-to-day, not just nice theories that I may or may not apply. Enough reminds me that I don't need to consume, hoard, or buy out of fear. If I trust God I have enough and that he will provide, I can opt out of the crazy rat race the rest of the culture is running. And I'm all for that.

Here's a few excerpts I appreciated:
"There is a saying in philosophy: Every ought implies a can. In other words, it is assumed that everything we should or ought to do is also something that we have the ability to do. But in America we seem to have turned that equation on its head: Every can implies an ought."
"If you want to understand that there is no ready access in this world, plant a garden. ... I also think of planting a garden as a simple step in the revolution to transform life from the erotic to the aesthetic. There is nothing sexual about my tomatoes. But there is something good about them. ... When cared for, they stand as a monument to the beauty of creation, with red and green and yellow, the burst to tell a story of hope for the future."
"Too many of us who were raised as "Bible-believing Christians" have often approached Scripture to affirm the things we wish to be against, and to provide permission for things we wish to do, like spending frivolously without concern for the future. But we do not have that freedom."
I'll definitely be including this one in the church library- if you're in the area, come pick it up! If you're not, read this excerpt.


Dawn Mead said...

Thank you for your insight into this book, it is what I am looking for, with regards to moving away for the excess to community.

Curtis Honeycutt said...

Oh yeah, I borrowed it from the library...probably will be returning it tomorrow. Ironically, I'm consuming Enough very quickly.

Will and Lisa are scheduled to come speak on their book, Justice in the Burbs, at our next Justice Seminar on September 26.


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