The Christian and Consumerism

Everyone is a consumer. This is what one of my Graduate Degree professors used to tell me…frequently. On some level, most of us in the West do tend to have a consumer driven mindset.

This should be somewhat logical as we have many things to consume. For instance, the idea of “window shopping” only works in a place where there is a window and something behind that window that people want to buy. There are several parts of the world where there is no window, nor an item to consume behind the window.

I’d like to be clear in saying that I am not writing this to condemn consumerism, however I would like to chat about how “everyone is a consumer” has an affect on those of us who claim to follow the way of Jesus.

The conversation usually goes something like this, “I left that church because I didn’t like the music, there wasn’t enough for my kids to do, the guy doing the speaking wasn’t as funny as I would like him to be”. Obviously, the list goes on! These days, I find that I am having this conversation more often than I would like.

At its inception some 2000 years ago, the church was something pretty incredible. Through the church people from different ethnicity, backgrounds, and socio-economic classes found something incredible…Jesus. Men and women were called to a new and somewhat radical lifestyle.

A life where others were valued as much, and sometimes even more than themselves. A life where wrongs were to be set right. A life where justice was to be brought to areas of injustice. Where generosity, not selfishness was to be the norm. A life where truth and grace were inseparable. All of the aforementioned ideas were found in the life of Jesus and He invited us to live the same life He did. To walk in the same way he did. To let His priorities become our priorities. So how are we doing with this often daunting responsibility?

So here is my point. There is no doubt that consumerism has had an effect on much of the world we live in today – some good, some bad. My question is… how has it affected your faith? Is your Jesus, your Christianity, your church, something you view as another object where you are taking more than you are giving? Has the pre-existent, eternal idea of the church which Jesus gave his life for been reduced to a place where we are more concerned about our preferences than the mission that Jesus left us – to bring his love to our world through our words and deeds.

Please…don’t just read this post, rather comment on it and lets start a conversation about it.

Thanks.

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~ by Anthony Orzo on July 26, 2009.

One Response to “The Christian and Consumerism”

  1. As a sales and marketing guru this hits pretty close to home. I recently read a book titled, “Obsessive Branding disorder” (and there are others like it, “Buy-o-logy”, “Buying In” etc). In this book it talked about this very thing. It asked the question, “Since branding is such a vital part of consumerism, does it not also apply to religious establishments?”

    Making a long conversation very short, I simply argue that it does. It applies more often these days than ever before. In the early church, there was a thing such as branding except they didn’t call it that nor did they apply it as we do today. Their form of branding was applied to the Gospel and to this man named Jesus. The were consumed with Him and his teachings, not the workings of the world.

    Now, one might argue that they lived a much simpler life than we do today. While it may seem like it was a much simpler time, that is only coming from our information age perspective. They dealt with much less information flow than we have now, but they all still dealt with sin.

    Our sin today plays out in a much different way than the early church, but it is not to say they didn’t have anything distracting them from being focused on God.

    So, what I’m saying is that we allow ourselves to be distracted by the consumerism thing of this day or the sin of this day and don’t allow ourselves to be focused on God. We should have a yearning for Him, not for a means to be satisfied by a new pair of reeboks.

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