The Poverty of Consumerism
Shameless self-promotion alert!
For those interested, the MB Herald—the denominational magazine of the tribe I happen to belong to—has published an article on consumerism that I co-authored with friend, fellow-Menno, and thesis-weary Regent student Jonathan Janzen. In it, we attempt to both describe and critique this prominent cultural mentality which views many, if not all, decisions as needing only to pass through the grid of individual preference and choice. We also suggest some areas of Christian theology that may have been lost or obscured and might serve as correctives in attempts to resist this cultural trend.
The Herald has decided to devote a series of columns over the next months to themes of individualism and consumerism, and I’m curious to see how these unfold. I think that ultimately these twin themes are a danger not so much because they turn us into acquisitive and ungrateful people (although they certainly can do this), but because they betray both a deficient anthropology and an inadequate theology. We ascribe unwarranted autonomy to ourselves, isolating and inflating one dimension of human experience at the expense of others, and we betray our lack of trust in a God who claims not only to satisfy but to reorient our desires both now and in the future. Ultimately, I think, consumerism and individualism reveal how little we think both of God and ourselves.