Consuming Religion

To add to the past post on consumerism, I will make reference to Alan Hirsch’s new book, The Forgotten Ways.

Hirsch states:

The problem for the church in this situation is that it is now forced to compete with all the other ideologies and -isms in the marketplace of religions and products for the allegience of people, and it must do this in a way that mirrors the dynamics of the marketplace–because the is precisely the basis of how people make the countless daily choices in their lives.  In the modern and the postmodern situation, the church is forced into the role of being little more a vender of religious good and services.  And the end-useres of the church’s services (namely, us) easily slip into the role of discerning, individualistic consumers, devouring the religious good and services offered by the latest and best vendor.  Worship, rather than being entertaining through creatively engaging the hears and minds of the hearers, now becomes mere entertainment that aims at giving the participants transcendent emotional highs, much like the role of the “feelies” in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where people go to the movies merely to get a buzz (109-110).

Hirsch goes on to state, “Consumerism is thoroughly pagan” (based on Matthew 6:31-33), while giving a half-hearted mention of Pete Ward’s profound perspective on the matter, that instead of fighting consumerism, the church is called to “redeem the rhythms and structures of consumerism” (111).

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~ by Dave Smith on June 18, 2008.

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