Like it or not, we are consumers. Just as a peasant in feudal 13th century Normandy was inextricably a farmer, so we, 21st century westerners, are inextricably consumers. That isn’t to say the 13th century farmer or the 21st century consumer is reduced to that identity, but it is undeniably a part of how the farmer or the consumer thinks, feels, believes, and acts.
That consumerism, then, profoundly shapes the way we view the world and our faith. We can’t help but view our faith with the eyes of consumerism. That might feel like an off-putting statement. I realize that consumerism is thrown around as a dirty word and our natural impulse is to distance ourselves from it.
But to be able to diagnose our hearts, we have to be willing to accept this reality about ourselves. Just as you would think it absurd for a medieval feudal peasant to demand, “farming may impact the faith of those around me, but it doesn’t impact my faith!” so we ought to have enough self-awareness to realize that consumerism impacts the way all of us in 21st century America interact with our faith.
The next series of posts will dig deeper into what this consumerism is and into the ways in which our consumerism impacts our faith, including our experience with the local church, our individual devotional time, our corporate worship life, and our stewardship.
Photo credit: Martin Noren/Unsplash