From the Editor

“WHY DO WE DO IT? BECAUSE WE CAN!”

Michael L. Sherer

Michael L. Sherer

Take a tour around the second- and third-tier suburbs in the greater Twin Cities area. One of the unmistakable trends is the construction of big — really big — single family dwellings.

Some realtors unabashedly call these expensive palaces, with construction costs typically running to $300,000 and more, “trophy homes.”

Why do builders construct these dwellings? Because they make a lot of money on them when they’re sold. Why do people buy them? A journalist who surveyed a sample of such homeowners offered this explanation: These folks don’t need this much space. In fact, many families have upgraded from smaller spaces and, in these big, big houses, end up using about as much space as they did before. (This means a lot of the house is not really used most of the time.)

So, then, why do some people buy and inhabit houses larger than they need? “They do it because they can.” In other words, they can afford it, so why not?

Some of the comfortably overhoused have little or no interest in practicing a discipled faith. But some of them belong to some of our congregations. It raises real questions about stewardship, seeing the megahomes going up, and being purchased now with such frequency.

Just because I can theoretically afford something, should I do it?

The Third World has been asking that question about those of us in North America, Japan, and Western Europe for decades. Why are so few of us consuming such a high percentage of the planet’s resources? It’s clear that “we can,” but the real question is, “Should we?”

The Gospel of Luke has an answer to which we need to listen. In essence, this evangelist tells us, “Giving is better than getting; sharing is better than hoarding; too many creature comforts can rot our souls.”

A book review which appears on page 12 of the print edition, and in the “Reviews” section of this webpage, offers insights into, and suggestions for addressing, this multiplying problem for citizens of an increasingly-affluent nation, including members of the Lutheran Church.