Stunning. Absolutely stunning. That’s what they would call their yacht, and I would agree with them completely. But we would each be using the word differently. You do not have to work for the poor to be stunned by the fact that someone just had a $4.5 billon dollar private yacht built for himself or herself. It is half gold, half platinum with amenities that make one wonder why they don’t just stay home, if they need all that stuff with them wherever they go.
I could not have been more stunned if I had been tasered to learn not only that such a thing could be made functional, but that someone would actually have it made. Why? Forget what 4.5 billion dollars could do in the world. Forget the difference it would make in the lives of those who don’t even have shelter, much less a rowboat. The first reaction is a question: “Why?”
I spent a week recently painting our kitchen cabinets and counter because they needed freshening up and each attempt to clean them made them look worse. So I bought $20 worth of paint, and felt a twinge of guilt. Who would I—who would you have to be to not feel even the slightest twinge having such a yacht? Who does someone have to be to be comfortable having a yacht worth even a mere billion in a world where the only reason anyone goes hungry is not lack of food but inequitable distribution?
I don’t know. If I did, perhaps that is who I would be. I do not think it is unfairly judgmental to say such a person might not have a soul, or such a person could not possibly profess any of our beliefs related to communion and service. But where should one draw the line? A million? One hundred thousand? Having a yacht at all?
The parish is getting a vehicle to help with all of the pick up and delivery and getting here and there that we do. I looked at one today that really fits the bill. It is within the budget we had set for the purpose. It is not made of gold and platinum. But the standard package includes such necessities as illuminated cup holders and an auto dimming rear view mirror with compass. And did I mention the camera to see what’s behind when backing up? Nice. But necessary? I guess so, since it cannot be bought without those amenities and even more.
It is not reality that demands that such things be standard. It is us. No manufacturer would make such things commonplace if consumers had not demanded them. So where do we draw the line? Will we expect our transportation to come standard with automatic pilot before we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and so on? Will we first need our gold and platinum yacht? Who are we becoming?