A growing number of Christians, out of a concern for global warming, are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Others are searching less successfully for ways to create a more authentic embodied faith. The problem is that most resources on embodied faith offer very few practical examples.
Many of my generation were drawn in the early 1980s to the call from Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger to “live more simply that others might simply live.” But as the global economy booms, that call seems to have lost its influence with many Christians.
Besides, while simplifying our lives is important, we won’t likely find a more serious embodied faith just by doing a simpler version of the American dream. We need to reinvent the America dream, not just simplify it. This requires more than a rant against consumerism. We must do a more robust critique of the values underlying the consumer culture.
How many of us unwittingly have allowed aspirations and values of the imperial global shopping mall define for us what is important and what is of value—what is the “good life”? Many of us, in spite of our best intentions, allow the economic aspirations of the workplace or the up-scaling impulses of our middle-class lifestyles to take over our lives. As a consequence, we too often trivialize our faith to little more than a devotional add-on to our “real lives.”