Monday, January 11, 2010

The Consumer Driven Church pt. 2

The more I think about the topic of Consumerism in the church the more comes to mind. Specifically things that are done by mega-churches such as Granger Community Church. Now, I am not condemning large churches in general, but rather the methods that are employed at times, by them. Consider this sign from 'Church Requel.' Notice how the Goal is the drawing of people, not Jesus. Moreover, it is a selfish (sinful) motive that one should come to the church, because YOU want life change. What is worse is the concept being forwarded, is that of life change, and it isn't the Christian Message or even close to it. Yes, Christianity changes lives, but it is because God changes people's hearts, wills and desires, and because we become justified and begin being sanctified. The Christian message is repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name. The consumerism of our churches has changed that offensive message of the cross to make it more palatable for the unregenerate sinner who has come into the church for 'life change.'

In reality, it seems that the promise of life change is also a simple lie. The main reason I make that comment is that Requel Church, has no power to change lives in the Christian sense, that ability belongs to God alone. Father more it seems to me that the idea of life change is the end goal, and this picture is foreign to biblical authors. In our consumerist desires look to the church/Jesus to increase our comforts, supply desires, and increase prosperity, all while making our quality of life better. Yet consider Paul's statements that he makes without disdain:
To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one--I am talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:21-30 ESV)
Yet in all of this, the modern ideal of comfort is missing. Where is the concept of Life Improvement? I mean, Paul's life was changed, from that of a rich young lawyer, well respected by his community to what we see him describe above. That isn't what I would call improvement, save for his salvation a sanctification in Christ Jesus the Lord. The whole point of this Life Improvement gospel, is an appeal to the consumerist driven American culture.

I think that the recent Facebook postings of womens bra colors are a picture of this same consumerism. How? Walk through any mall, and you will see Large photographs of women in their bra's, designed to excite and spawn desire, the same can be said for TV, Billboards, some Magazines, ect... all this consumerism has lead to a hardening of our minds in terms of sexuality, whereby we need more to be excited, but also we fail to even realize that behavior such as this is even sexual. This is from the root of consumerism that screams "BUY BUY BUY" and as the saying goes, "Sex Sells."

Let us work to recapture our innocence of heart and mind. Let us Strive to realize that the consumerism in our lives and mortify it. If not, We will usher in our children to the Consumer Driven Church.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I agree with you for the most part. I think this church is desperate to break into the minds of our consumer culture. So they get flashy and suggest something that everyone wants...change. The problem is, they do it in an unbiblical manner. It's really unfortunate. If we as believers would do our individual part, not rely on our church to do it, then we'd be better off, in my opinion.