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Christians, Not Consumers August 24, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity.
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American Christians have a real hard time being just Christians.

We live in consumerism. We like that businesses spend lots of money to make us happy. It’s gratifying to know that LendingTree.com is making banks compete for what? My busniess. In fact, we realize, as consumers, that we are lusted after constantly for the power we wield and what power we can give to the various businesses that lust after us. Frankly, it’s pretty gratifying to be that important. We expect to be flirted with, flattered, and praised. We are the customer and we are always right.

Now, when our church does not treat us the same way businesses do, we gripe that we are not respected. When our church does not lust after us like corporate a|America does, we Christians feel neglected. Our entitlement has been infringed upon and we, in business like fashion (at first) assert our right as the customer. That might “work” in our favor and change may occur that provides some temporary happiness. If it does not work, then more will is asserted on the church or the church is abandoned for a “better” church. When we don’t like the product, we shop.

The problem here is not so much that a person might move from one church to another. If it were only that shallow. The problem is that we Christians view ourselves as the one’s being served. When we willingly take on the role of the one being served, being pleased, being catered to, then we have a real hard time serving, pleasing, and catering to.

When we Christians look to the church to make our dreams come true, then we forfeit the role of making other people’s dreams come true. When we lean on the church for our consumption needs, then we drain it of the resources that could be helping someone come to know God.

Yes, church to the rescue is many, many cases. We need to take care of our own. But let’s face it, God’s taking care of millions of Christian’s needs through other means. and we’re just gathering together, filling our minds with knowledge we’ll never use jst to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.  

What we need to do as Christians is to become producers, not consumers. A producer’s mentality is totally different from that of a consumer. We are to be givers and creators. We are to think that way. When we begin to think like producers, creators, givers, then we will lose our entitled status and be glad that it is gone. Happiness through gratification is fleeting at best. Happiness through sacrifice, creation, and production has more legs.

Thoughts?

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Comments»

1. joejames - August 24, 2006

“Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master… Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

– Jesus Christ (John 13:12-17)

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself….”

– Paul (Romans 15:1-3)

2. CF - August 24, 2006

What do you consider yourself?

3. fajita - August 24, 2006

This post is observational and confessional. I consider myself a consumer who is slowly coming to realize that this is true and the more I learn the more disgusted I get.

At the same time as I am realizing this in myself I am realizing it in Christianity in general. since American style Christianity is all I have access to it is all I can comment on.

CF, what do you consider yourself?

4. CF - August 25, 2006

I have seen somewhat the same idea on other blogs so I guess it’s going around.

No, I don’t see myself a consumer. My family leads a very simple life although we could be much more a “consumer family.” My church is considered by many to be exceptionally “wealthy.” However it is the most compassionate and giving congregation I have ever attended. You wouldn’t believe how liberal and giving the members are, both in money and time. My husband, for example, devotes at least 10 hours a week to the prison ministry in addition to other things. He is not alone.

If you are thinking along the lines of “simple churches”, I don’t see how they would ever have the resources to do much. My church has spent over a million dollars in the last few years on missions alone, establishing many churches in Africa.

From what I read, the churches in Europe are basically empty, not even consumer oriented.

5. Dwiggy - August 25, 2006

Fajita – I can’t believe that you posted this today. Is it possible that the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to me through your blog? My brain hurts…

6. joejames - August 25, 2006

CF –

I think you can do plenty with no money at all… which is precisely the problem with Christian Ministry and Missions in America (in my opinion). Believe me, I understand what you are saying… I go to a similar church in AR. Very compassionate and giving and liberal and all that stuff. I think there is still more to grow into though.

I like the line from Derek Webb’s song A Rich Young Ruler…

“I want more than your cash and coin, I want your time I want your voice.”

I see nothing wrong with being a well endowed family of Christians, as long as you have the mindset that as much can be achieved in the name of God without those dollars.

My friend here (Fajita) I think is suggesting that we have a flawed mindset… I don’t speak for him, but I think he’s addressing the church here in general terms. Overall there is a consumer mentality that sets us apart from the poor but giving family found in Acts 2:42-47.

Just a thought… what do you think about all this CF?

7. Dwiggy - August 25, 2006

And now that the shock has worn off, I need to pose some 100% hypothetical questions –

What happens if the church you’re attending doesn’t believe and/or practice Christianity they same way that you do? What if the church you’re attending is established, comfortable and full of happy members, but is slowly eroding due to lack of outreach and/or outward focus? If you’re in a community with several churches who are all thriving, why shouldn’t you align yourself with one of those churches? Are we committed to a church for life once we’re baptized there?

When did choosing a church home where we can more effectively serve and grow become “being a consumer” or “being selfish”?

8. fajita - August 25, 2006

People change churches for many reasons, so a person who changes may or may not be doing it for selfish reasons. I changed churches in Abilene once when I saw that it was going to Hell is something much less lovely than a hand basket. I was bacically running for my life.

If the motive for changing churches is “my input to the Kingdom of God will be more effeicent or better utilized” that is different than the motivation of “I think the worship stinks here.” One motive might be God-centered and one might be self-centered, but both might prodice the same behavior – changing churches.

So Dwiggy, to address your question, what I am trying to get at is more so motive than action.

9. Christians, Not Consumers II « Fajita’s Blog - August 25, 2006

[…] Dwiggy was wondering in the comments section of my last post on this topic why changing churches means being a consumer. I thought that the question was really good and helps to deeper approach the topic of Chrisatian consumerism. […]


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