Follower of The Way


Consumeristic Evangelicalism

Posted in Christ and Culture by sosipater on July 17, 2006

There is an interesting article over at Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal about the assimilation of a consumerism mindset within the Christian Church. 

Leader’s Insight: From Christ’s Church to iChurch
How consumerism undermines our faith and community.

Here are some key paragraphs.

We find ourselves in a culture that defines our relationships and actions primarily through a matrix of consumption. As the philosopher Baudrillard explains, “Consumption is a system of meaning.” We assign value to ourselves and others based on the goods we purchase. One’s identity is now constructed by the clothes you wear, the vehicle you drive, and the music on your iPod.

When we approach Christianity as consumers rather than seeing it as a comprehensive way of life, an interpretive set of beliefs and values, Christianity becomes just one more brand we consume along with Gap, Apple, and Starbucks to express identity. And the demotion of Jesus Christ from Lord to label means to live as a Christian no longer carries an expectation of obedience and good works, but rather the perpetual consumption of Christian merchandise and experiences—music, books, t-shirts, conferences, and jewelry.

Approaching Christianity as a brand (rather than a worldview) explains why the majority of people who identify themselves as born-again Christians live no differently than other Americans. According to George Barna, most churchgoers have not adopted a biblical worldview, they have simply added a Jesus fish on the bumper of their unregenerate consumer identities.

As a result, choosing a church today isn’t merely about finding a community to learn and live out the Christian faith. It’s about “church shopping” to find the congregation that best expresses my identity. This drives Christian leaders to differentiate their church by providing more of the features and services people want.

After all, in a consumer culture the customer, not Christ, is king.

What do you think about this article?

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