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Archive for December, 2006

Christian Consumerism

Read a great post on the Internet Monk about the consumerism of the Christian culture. Man, I couldn’t agree more! I get so sick and tired of being spoon-fed Christian products and told that they are the ‘next big thing’ in the Christian world. Like a boy band, they are usually not big because they are GOOD but only because they have been heavily marketed. For example, take Max Lucado. I used to love his stuff: he was very refreshing, insightful, and a fresh change from most of the drivel out there. Sure, he wasn’t very deep, but for a devotional it was wonderful. But now I’m not too sure. Not that I think that the quality of his writing is any less, but I just have a suspicion that he is merely pooping out a new book every year to fulfill some publishing contract. And then there are all the tie ins. I remember when me and the missus bought “Come Thirsty” and got the free water bottle. Then we went to visit a church and they were doing the whole “Come Thirsty” tie-in: sermon series, video, bulletin inserts, discussion books, guides, so on and so on. Was it because that book was earth-shaking and paradigm-shifting? Nope. It was just an easy way for a preacher to get a month’s worth of sermons with good promotional stuff.

I guess it’s better than my feeble attempts to simply preach from the bible, but something seems icky about it.

And then all the merchandising. You have a decent book and then you head to the Christian bookstore and find the Purpose Driven book mark, pooper scooper, and tie tack (not that I think that PDL is a ‘decent book’… never read it actually).

I used to love to go to a Christian bookstore, but lately I get the sense that Jesus would be overturning tables if he were to walk in there and see the “Santa praying at the manger” figurine and diet books on slimming down the Old Testament Way.

I guess we just like to spend money, as Americans, and as Christians we feel better buying something with a Christian stamp on it instead of some secular equivalent.

And then there are all the conferences: Promise Keepers and Women of Faith to name the big ‘uns. I went to my first PK rally this year… didn’t see what the big deal was. Yes, there were some good speakers. The music was wonderful. The message was, for the most part, pretty good. But did I really need to lay down a hundred bucks to hear a good sermon?

And most of all: did it really make me a better disciple? Would that money have been better spent on the needy while I spent the weekend at home in bible study and prayer? Do I really need the Next Big Thing to make me a better Christian, or is that just a quick fix? Is the Next Big Book going to show me some way to be a better Christian? And is the Next Big Book Thing really something great, or just some well-marketed attempt to take a little more of my money?

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