in ichurch, his most recent article on christianitytoday.com, associate editor skye jethani provides an apt diagnosis of consumerism, the disease that threatens to plague all of our communities, and begins to sketch the way towards a pastoral response. this same territory is covered in a more comprehensive manner in colossians re:mixed, which is a handbook for christians who are seeking to subvert the empire of consumerism and a treatise that i highly recommend. here are a couple of quotes from jethani's article to whet your appetite:
"As Mark Riddle observes, 'Conversion in the U.S. seems to mean we've exchanged some of our shopping at Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, and Borders for the Christian bookstore down the street. We've taken our lack of purchasing control to God's store, where we buy our office supplies in Jesus' name.' "
"In consumer Christianity, however, church leaders function as religious baristas, supplying spiritual goods for people to choose from based on their preferences. Our concern becomes not whether people are growing, but whether they are satisfied. An unhappy member, like an unhappy customer, will find satisfaction elsewhere. As one pastor enthusiastically said, "The problem with blended services is that half the people are happy half the time. With a video venue, you can say, 'If you don't like this service style, try another one!' "
"The church does not exist to supply comfort, ease, and convenient services to religious consumers. And God is not a commodity that exists to make you feel better."
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