Thursday, April 30, 2009

This has been heavy on my head and on my heart lately: consumerism in the church. In North America, we are trained to be wise consumers. The ability to make such decisions is applauded. Not to mention that we seem to judge success by the amount that one can consume. It's addictive, really. Is it healthy, though? Is it who we are called to be, particularly as Christians? How does it, if at all, lend to a sense of community and wholeness? It seems to me that instead of breeding a sense of looking out for the weak and the least of these, it breeds an attitude of "every man for himself," exactly the opposite of who I want to be and yet it seems to be exactly what our culture encourages and what a side of me does, in fact, want. So we're caught in a tension.

The struggle becomes even more defined, I think, when we start really thinking about who we are supposed to be as Christians and as the Church and see these consumeristic tendencies taking up residency in our congregations. We want what we want, what's good for us and in our way. We all do. None of us are free from it. Even the most well intentioned among us. It's our perspective and our perception of what's best, perhaps even good for the whole group. But what if it isn't? Are we willing to see past what we want for the good of the whole? How do free our view of Jesus and the church from our training as consumers?

So I'm thinking through it all. Trying to figure out how to consume less and sell less, to love more and to live more.

With all that in mind, I ran across this...

Branding the Church

What’s the biggest threat to Christianity today? Is it postmodernism? Relativism? Skye Jethani, managing editor for Leadership, says no, it’s consumerism. In a post on the Out of Ur blog titled, “The Cult of Mac,” Jethani discusses the unique effects that consumerism has had on the church and how branding Christ has created a consumer-driven Christian community. He asks, “If brands have become religions, is the opposite also true? Have religions been reduced to brands?”

What are your thoughts? Is consumerism the biggest threat to the church today?

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