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Consumerism

Consumerism is, first and foremost, a culture of expectations that draws us into unhealthy ways of relating to our material possessions and tempts us to be consumers of one another.

Our contributors remind us that our excessive love of stuff is not merely a modern affliction, but an enduring addiction. Jesus declared, "You cannot faithfully serve both God and Money" and "the meek will inherit the earth." We affluent Christians consider so little the suffering of others, but "What would happen if we really became meek?" Arthur Simon wonders. "How much more empowered our lives and the mission of the church would be. And how much less suffering the world would have."*

The church is tempted to adopt marketing strategies that transform the body of Christ into one more vendor of products and services. Yet in true worship through the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper, we can be shaped in fidelity, other-centeredness, and proper joy, which are counter-cultural to the ethos of consumerism. As often as we eat the bread and drink from the cup, as Augustine reminds us, we receive the mystery of ourselves.

Christian Reflection is an ideal resource for discipleship training in the church. Multiple copies are available for group study at $3.00 per copy.

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to help us examine our habits of excessive consumption. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire Consumerism issue and the set of six Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.

Articles

Art

Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Pieces

* Arthur Simon's article "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth" appears in this issue of Christian Reflection with the permission of Baker Book House, online at www.bakerbooks.com.

Book Reviews

  • "Which Kingdom?," by Barry Harvey
    • Philip D. Kenneson, Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian Community
    • Michael Budde, The (Magic) Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries
    • Michael Budde and Robert Brimlow, Christianity Incorporated: How Big Business is Buying the Church
  • "Curing Our Affluenza," by Norman Wirzba
    • Gary Cross, An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America
    • Arthur Simon, How Much is Enough? Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture
    • Michael Schut (ed.), Simpler Living Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of six Study Guides)

Further Reading

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