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Christians, Not Consumers II August 25, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion.
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I don’t put all of my religious eggs into the restoration movement, emerging church or any other basket. Anyone who does is a consumer or something worse. For any Christian, the eggs go into the Jesus basket. If it is not about following God in the way Jesus did (does), then it isn’t worth it.

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.

The central notion here cannot be the local congregation, but rather a person’s role in the larger story of God. That may or maynot mean sticking with the current local congregation or denomination for that matter.

This is a question of motives, not behavior. A person heading off to a new, relevant, postmodern engaging, hip church might be a consumer while someone sticking with his or her stuck in the mud denominational church might be very much in the center of what God has in mind. Behavior does not determine motive.

Certainly each context is highly influential upon individuals and families. Whatever context a person places himself or herself into also has  a set ot expectations and options that go along with it. So, choose your context and you choose the parameters of your available options. Choose your church and you chose your parameters – for the most part.

My point in all of the is that Christian people must not get infected with consumerism such that we make spiritual  and religious choices with a consumeristic mentality. Breaking free from consumerism as it relates to church, God, faith and so on is crucial. Consumerism must be the servant, not the master.

Shop for a car to get the best deal? Sure. Shop for a church to get the best services that make you feel happy? Better think about it. Buying the car might be about you (although I could argue that the other way as well), but church isn’t.

We must acknowledge the influence of consumerism upon us and how it affects our decision making processes and then we must be diligent to notice when these processes are out of place with the topic of decision making. We must find better reasons for making the decision we make than the base and mere “better mousetrap” mentality that consumerism reduces us to.

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Comments»

1. CF - August 25, 2006

OK, I’ll be the first. I would think twice about taking advice from anyone who goes to a church named after King Solomon, with all due respect of course:)

2. bek - August 25, 2006

wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts, fajita

3. Donna - August 26, 2006

I fear being a consumer when change overtakes my thinking. But I don’t think I am looking for what is better for me, but a better way to be about the kingdom business. I need the community but currently the local group I am part of frustrates me more than it encourages me (oops I am talking about me again). The worst thing is that I see so much of a “Look At US, Come Join Us” attitude. I see the church as being more of a “what do you need, we will be there” type of place.

BTW, the church you attend is Solomon’s Porch, named after a place not a person…..

4. fajita - August 26, 2006

Solomon’s Porch was a place where early Christians frequently met. In some translations it is called Solomon’s Portico. So, with all due respect, there’s a lot of early Christians that CF would not want to take advice from. 🙂

5. Keith Brenton - August 27, 2006

The church where I’ve attended (and hopefully, served) for most of the last 24 years – and where I now work full-time – is really not a whole lot like the kind of church where I would prefer to worship. It’s kind of a Jaguar, with all the options … when I would rather have a little basic Ford Escort or, better yet, a Toyota Prius (since the money’s there).

I could do the easy thing: move to the Prius church.

I could try to do the hard thing: dismantle the Jaguar, strip it down to the basics, weld Escort body parts to its platform and call it a fine hybrid.

Nobody would be happy with that, including me.

My church is what it is.

So I could do the right thing: work within it, help keep its engine in tune, increase its mileage; advise it to stop frequently to pick up pedestrians; help keep it steered in the direction of Christ.

I don’t have hard feelings toward folks who move to another make and model because they feel more comfortable doing engine repairs on a hemi or a four-banger rather than the V-6 they have now. I’m not sure but what some folks are actually called to drive or navigate a sedan and have no business at the wheel of an 18-wheeler. And there are some folks who would just rather ride a Joy bus than an MG Midget because it’ll carry more folks.

But I’m with you – if the decision is made based on the options package, or the brand perception, or the coolness factor, or the horsepower – there’s something wrong with the decision.


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