consumption

Brian E. Konkol 11-18-2014
Volodymyr Baleha / Shutterstock.com

Volodymyr Baleha / Shutterstock.com

One of the dominant dogmas of the season seems to be both loud and clear: Our value as human beings is often dictated by our capacity to contribute toward economic growth.

This is what happens when Decemberism crucifies Christmas.

One may define “Decemberism” as a state in which the value of human life is determined exclusively by our personal rates of production and consumption. We notice this condition most often, of course, in December. Decemberism is the predominant religious tradition of the so-called “holiday shopping season,” and the significance of Christmas is consistently crucified as a result. As Victor Lebow states:

“Our enormously productive economy … demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption … we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.”

In striking contrast to the Christmas ramifications of God’s incarnation, to be a human of any value in our current context is closely connected with supply and demand, even if it all leads to our personal and public self-destruction.

Katie Zimmerman 05-14-2014
Simple living concept, Aleutie / Shutterstock.com

Simple living concept, Aleutie / Shutterstock.com

Jesus calls us to consume less and to live simply. To “live simply” in itself varies by person, situation, income, and values. While I still fantasize about becoming a new-age Laura Ingles Wilder, building a log cabin and weaving my own clothes, I have accepted that I need to interact with a consumer culture. Consuming is not a bad thing and is a necessary part of life. However, consuming becomes unhealthy when we find identity in our “stuff,” live beyond our means, or hurt others with our purchasing power.

I learned about alternative giving from a flier in my college dorm bathroom. Ithaca College and the surrounding town are notorious for progressive politics, activists, and a thriving farmers market on Cayuga Lake. Progressive politics were a part of the classroom, and I quickly learned about the often unhealthy connections between corporations, government, and the products we use. I remember feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and confused.

Kathryn Reklis 08-01-2012

From "True Blood"

What vampires can teach us about consumer capitalism and human desire.

Timothy King 11-16-2011

The Norton commercial says explicitly what most advertisements only imply.

You are the things you own.

Your identity is the stuff you have.

Your worth is what you own.

Kristy Powell 09-06-2011

Last Saturday, August 20, 2011, I got arrested. Having never been arrested before, it feels strange to write that. Like most Americans I associate getting arrested with committing egregiously unlawful acts that require punishment

Michael Nagler 08-12-2011

On Monday the Dow Jones industrial average fell 634.76 points; the sixth-worst point decline for the Dow in the last 112 years and the worst drop since December 2008. Every stock in the Standard and Poor's 500 index declined.

It is easy to blame bipartisan bickering for the impasse that led to Standard and Poor's downgrading of the American debt, and in turn the vertiginous fall of the Dow. This bickering -- this substitution of ideology for reason, of egotism for compassion and responsibility on the part of lawmakers -- is a national disgrace; but while it failed to fix the problem, we must realize that it did not cause it. The cause -- and potential for a significant renewal -- lies much deeper.

So let's allow ourselves to ask a fundamental question: what's an economy for?

The Hebrew scriptures recount time and again how God blesses the earth with enough provision and food for its inhabitants.
Jeffrey Wilson 04-21-2011
Last year, I was deeply troubled by the Gulf Oil Spill, having been born and raised on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Jim Wallis 03-31-2011
Since our fast began this past Monday, I've been re-reading one of the classic books on spirituality by my friend Richard Foster, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060628391?ie=UTF8&am
Christine Sine 02-09-2011

Yesterday I received my email copy of ePistle, Evangelicals for Social Action’s weekly electronic communication. This article discussing the situation in the Ivory Coast and the former president Laurent Gbagbo immediately caught my attention:

“The Ivory Coast is on the brink of civil war, and chocolate companies could play a critical role in saving lives and bringing peace.

Jim Wallis 11-25-2010
The political ads are finally off the air. (We can all give thanks for that!) But now there is a new wave of advertisements hitting all of us. Each one will give us a different reason to consume.
Bryan Farrell 11-04-2010
As genetically modified organisms (GMOs) become more prevalent, so do protests against them.
Julie Clawson 09-03-2010

Between July 30 and August 3, a reign of terror was released upon villages in the Congo's eastern mining districts.

Jennifer Kottler 08-12-2010
"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)
Elizabeth Palmberg 08-03-2010
As is pretty universally agreed by economists and (these days) ignored by many politicians -- who seem determined to run on a Herbert Hoover platform -- in the short term, the government must and
Jennifer Kottler 07-16-2010
It is with cautious optimism that I write these words: Apparently, oil has stopped flowing into the Gulf (at least from the spot where we had been watching http://blog.sojo.net/tag/oil-spi
Debra Dean Murphy 06-30-2010

It's been awhile since Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the gang have been on the big screen, but they've lost none of their charm in the interim.

Dave Allen 06-21-2010
In early June, a week-long gathering at the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School brought together a diverse group of Ch
Chris Rice 06-18-2010
We rarely slow down to create the sacred space needed to discern the "signs of the times" and who we are as Christians in this time of America.

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