Discussion 2.22.09: Consumerism Part I
At the next cohort discussion on Sunday we will be diving into the topic of consumerism. Remember the “suicide machine” that McLaren spoke of last spring in Goshen (www.everythingmustchange.org)? One could say that American consumerism is the electricity that keeps it running.
I have posted two readings for our discussion on the yahoogroups page. If you aren’t a member of the group, you’ll need to sign up to get to the files (see the button on the right panel of the blog). Once you’re into our page, click on “files,” to the left.
One of the readings includes excerpts from What Would Jesus Buy?, a radical book written by a truly incredible activist (be warned, the writer isn’t actually that concerned about the hypothetical shopping habits of Jesus). If you want to know more about the organization featured in the book check out their site.
The second reading is a chapter from the recently published The Shock Doctrine. While the first reading deals more with our daily choices as First World consumers, this second one describes the destructive changes that American and European multinational corporations operating on current business models have brought to undeveloped countries rich in resources.
We’re all busy, right? But please try to spend some time digesting these readings, and please print them off and bring them with you on Sunday if possible. I was lucky enough to have several hours over last weekend to read most of both books, which resulted in what I believe were life changing epiphanies. My consumer habits have been dominating my thought-life more and more lately; I have become convinced that as reflective, spiritual people living in the U.S., we must pay attention to the products we consume, because these actions so powerfully affect both ourselves and others. If we want to love God’s children, we have to take this seriously.
Additionally, I have the documentary that goes along with What Would Jesus Buy? and I would love to have people over sometime this week to view it. I’m thinking about Saturday, either during the day or the evening. The film is funny, moving, and insightful all at once. Send me an email or post a comment if you would like to come.