Consumerism in the Church

Consumerism in the Church

As I’ve written these last few months about the issues that divide us, I recognize that there’s a pervasive cultural reality that has a great impact upon the way we relate to one another. That’s because it’s also prevalent in the church. It’s consumerism.

When we interact with others on a consumerist level, we turn people into objects and use them. We relate primarily on the basis of what we might get. We become a world of consumers with goods to be bought and sold. We run on greed —the desire to profit from each other by the transactions we have.

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Grandstanding

Grandstanding

Grandstanding is a ploy that reminds people of their fear while reassuring them that the one using this tactic is their savior from this fear.

It makes speeches that appeal to the lowest common denominator in the crowd—our joint fear. It repeats time-tested clichés. It casts doubts about anything “new” because the “old” is always more dependable. It is closed to new viewpoints from the outside. It sweeps issues under the rug with generalizations. It seeks to appear conservative while actually being more in keeping with the ways of the world. It postures itself as the safe position. It even quotes Scripture.

This may be the bad yeast that has gotten into the pulpit of our day. If a pastor wants to solidify support, grandstanding is the surest route to popular acclaim. Just tell the congregation members exactly what they want to hear, relieve their fears, castigate all dissenting opinions, and secure them in a religious bubble. Salary increases will certainly follow.

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Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

The day after Thanksgiving has become the biggest shopping day of the year. And now, some of the big box stores are inching into Thanksgiving Day itself by opening on Thursday afternoon. A national day of giving thanks has become a national day of acquiring more. We call it Black Friday. At least we named it well.

I think football is to blame. When over-fed men won’t converse with their families, but pile into stuffed chairs and watch football into oblivion, women go shopping. It is payback for the scant thanks the women got for all their hard cooking. I know; this sounds very sexist. Men do cook and women do like football. I’m generalizing here.

But I’m still sad that stores are opening on Black Friday and Thankful Thursday. Because we don’t need more practice at buying stuff. We need more practice at conversing, playing, walking, and talking—at being a family who exits the rat race for a respite of gratitude. It’s hard to do that while you’re wrestling a bargain toy from a fellow human or snoozing to another NFL game.

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