antique dinosaur caves and kangaroo flea markets

Guest Post By: stephen cavness

i want to thank doug for two things: 1.) for asking me to help fill in while he is gone and 2.) for spelling my name correctly in the previous post. some of you, like me, have the misfortune of having not just one, but two parts of your name that is often spelled incorrectly. my whole life i have gotten "steven" (which we all know is the *un*biblical way of spelling it) and many variations of my last name (just two syllables - pronounced 'kav-ness'). the problem was multiplied approximately 642 times when my family and i moved to cave city, ky. now i am most frequently referred to as "pastor steven (uggh!) cave-ness"

so thank you doug- it really means a lot that you got it right.

now that i have given the most self-centered introduction in recent memory [*holding back lebron james "decision" jokes- too easy*], i do want to tell you a bit about where i live, here in cave city, ky.

cave city has its own wikipedia page, which must mean that it is pretty famous, because not just anything can get on that site. what it is famous for is that it is the entrance way to mammoth cave national park- the largest known cave system in the world. (full disclosure: while i have been to the national park several times, i haven't yet been on any of the cave tours. don't tell anyone here...they will want to know why someone named "cave-ness" wont go into a cave)

because of mammoth cave and several other sites of interest in the area,(kentucky down under or dinosaur world, anyone? ) and in addition to our town being immediately off of interstate 65, cave city has become quite the tourist attraction. and apparently someone some day in the past decided that, at least in these parts, the one thing that tourists want to see more than caves, dinosaurs, and kangaroos are antiques and odd merchandise. and for this reason there are more antique shops, flea markets, and auction houses than there are restaurants and gas stations. if you have ever wanted a brass horse collar, a hand crafted magazine rack shaped like the univeristy of kentucky logo, or a slightly used snuggie, then all you have to do is browse around town. one person's junk is another's treasure. another's person's junk is someone else's livelihood. and some of the things are really rare and excellent finds. you would be stunned (i often am!) how far people come to look around in these places.

it occurred to me recently that none of these antique shops, flea markets, or auction houses manufacture anything they are selling. it all comes from someone else who, though they once paid money for it because they wanted it, or it was given to them as a gift, eventually thought it wasn’t worth keeping.

or they died.

and so it will be with all of my stuff. from my tv, guitar, books, and baseball cards i have been saving since i was a kid. things that might be worth a lot of money, and things that may not be worth anything to anybody but me- one day, it will either be thrown out, given away, or auctioned off. as has been said before, "there are no u-hauls behind hearses".

i often wonder how often the world looks at us as christians and thinks "we are exactly alike- we want the same stuff- get excited about the same stuff. make the same sacrifices to get the latest "necessity" in this 21st century world of technology and comfort"

and then i wonder what difference it would make if we didn't. i don't mean that we can’t have laptops, or cell phones, or mp3 players etc. but what if we were seen as people who don't "have to have it".  people who don't freak out when our phone will not order a pizza for us by scanning our taste buds or film the delivery guy in HD- all it does is call people because the network is down.

i am not pushing a life of poverty or one that avoids technology as if it is inherently sinful. but i am seeking an image change. living a life that sees *stuff* as on its way to the junkyard or a new owner. one that says i can be happy with a bag phone and a dial up internet connection because i refuse to let man made things produce in me a more visible joy than the joy i have in christ.

it’s a hard thing to do, looking at myself and my stuff and asking “could i be completely happy and fulfilled if all of this burned up or was stolen tomorrow?” but i can only be better for asking myself the question, and considering what it will take to be able to say “yes”. and maybe just as importantly-, for my neighbor to observe me and say “of everything he has, his greatest joy is christ.”