“Consumerism is the dominant worldview of North Americans. As such, it is competing with the kingdom of heaven for the hearts and imaginations of God’s people.” —Skye Jethani
In our recent explorations of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we have been talking about money. Jesus presents a vision of a way of life in which God’s kingdom reign is made manifest and he saw that it was fitting to talk about the role or place of money within this vision.
It’s interesting to consider that humanity had issues with money 2,000 years ago and I think it’s safe to say, we still have issues with money. While there is continuity and the issues remain, I have to wonder how they’ve changed.
Skye Jethani has written The Divine Commodity: Discovering A Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity. In this book, Skye contrasts a vision of God’s kingdom with a vision of consumerism.
Before getting too far, a helpful distinction is between consumption and consumerism. Consumption is necessary and not inherently right or wrong. God, as Creator, has designed our world to function through aspects of consumption. Even so, we still should be mindful of what and how we consume.
Consumerism is a set of presuppositions most of us carry without question. It is a framework or worldview through which we view all things, God included. In this way, consumerism, in Skye’s opinion, is in direct competition with God’s kingdom vision.
“Wanting to obey Christ but lacking his imagination, we reinterpret the mission of the church through the only framework comprehendible to us–the one we’ve inherited from our consumer culture.”
What might it look like to creatively reimagine what it looks like to follow Christ today? What might it look like to engage something like Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in an interpretive vacuum? What if we didn’t try to explain his words away, making them palatable for our lives today?
“Learning to see the world as it truly is – saturated with the presence and love of God – should be the essence of Christian discipleship, or what many call spiritual formation.”
Consumerism is the dominant worldview of our day and age. We will not simply turn it off with the flip of a switch. Its influences are rooted too deeply within the consciousness of each of us.
What if we allowed our hearts’ affections to be wooed by another? What if we were so enraptured by the love of God that consumerism lost all its appeal?
Well, I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty alright to me.
May it be so.
Peace to you,