I’m often asked what our blog is all about. I don’t really have an answer. I realize this is a terrible sales pitch, but I’m not selling anything so I don’t have to bother.
But I gave the idea some thought recently. I decided what it is is simple: A celebration. We celebrate art. We celebrate recovery. We blather on about the stuff that makes life full and wide and meaningful and fun. That’s sort of what we mean by the hoof to head concept. In food this “trend” is using all parts of an animal, which is great stuff. My grandmother did that her whole life and her recipes reflect it. She never knew she was trendy. She just thought it was necessarily frugal.
In philosophical focus, hoof to head is something also a bit trendy that goes against the grain of rampant consumerism. When we write about our efforts to re-use, reduce, recycle and restore (that’s a biggie for us) we are making an effort to “lessen our global footprint,” to use a trendy term.
But we sure as hell aren’t concerned with being trendy, just responsible. We are a species that have built monuments of trash. By taking a hoof-to-head approach and trying to limit our waste, we strive to live a bit more in harmony with our world and environment.
At the deepest level, hoof to head means a spiritual view of life that recognizes the intense idolatry of wealth and greed. The concept is one that goes a lot deeper than a silly blog can properly define. But it goes back to the old saying, “you gotta serve somebody” even if its our own ego.
I read an article by David Brooks the other day. I find it’s important to read conservatives so I don’t end up just reading all the stuff I already agree with. In this column he talks about the poor job modern religions have done in communicating the wonder of faith. I disagree with Brooks as much as I agree with him. This one, I agreed wholeheartedly. I like it that there are conservatives out there closer to my view than those with the megaphone that seem to hold Jesus hostage. In this column I’m reminded that we all serve something, we just don’t admit it.
So I’m rambling a bit as I am prone to do when I try to capture the esoteric things I sense but don’t really know. The whole concept is easier to explain in an example than actual words, so follow along on this rabbit trail of thought for a moment.
It starts with this. Why do so many, many people want to be the next American Idol? Seriously — you’ve seen the crowds. People will wait and wait and wait for a brief chance to be a star, and idol, the Voice, or whatnot. But idol is really the word. That’s what it is, idol worship. I get the allure, but do these folks really stop and think: what would happen to me if I won? Or do their parents?
We read virtually every day about young stars — the Justin Beibers and Lindsay Lohans of this moment, but an exhausting list of examples that dot every turn of the calendar — and how their lives are riddled with brokenness: addiction, bouts with the law, destructive relationships, angry outburst, just to name a few. We watch in horror as their lives become a 24-hour reality show and paparazzi feeding frenzy.
Any sane reaction would be: no way, no how. I’ll never go anywhere near that life. OR better yet, I’ll never wish that life upon my child if its my last breath. I’ll do everything in my power as a parent to keep them away from that influence.
Because I don’t know too many teens who could make all that money and have all that adulation and live in that shark-tank filled world of Hollywood and expect to remain decent, healthy, happy and sane. It seems impossible.
Let me get extreme here: If you had to choose, would you want your child to smoke a joint or be a child star? I don’t like pot and am thankful my kids never got into it, but I’d fire up the bong if it came down to these choices. The pot they’ll survive. The odds are considerably longer if they become a child star, or a pro sports athlete, or a rock star, or whatever. It’s just way, way too much.
So if it seems that clear, why would so many of us be thrilled if we were chosen to star in a movie, or if our kid was? Come on, fess up. If one day your kid came home and said they were being offered a chance to star as Brad Pitt’s child on his next blockbuster and a contract with a long string of zeros on it after the dollar sign were waived in your face wouldn’t you be thrilled?
That’s our idolatry. That’s where we’ve gone so far awry as a culture.
That’s why we write this stuff. That’s why we think there is a healthier way — a hoof to head way, a whole-person approach to living our best lives.
If the churches of our land were doing a better job of modeling a better way, than this wouldn’t be such a strange concept. But how is the star power of spiritual leaders– bankrolled with mega churches, and mega followers and mega book deals — any different? How is the name-it-and-claim it “Christian” philosophy of wealth, success and prosperity any different? Is it really? Can we really praise God with one hand and fly our wealth flags in the other?
We didn’t think so.
So, we’ll keep on exploring this humble little hoof-to-head path in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms in the hope of finding a better way.