Christian Consumerism

What’s a Christmas season without a post about consumerism? As a person who went through 2009 without buying myself (virtually) anything other than food and energy, this post from Shane Claiborne was really fascinating to me.

Shane is an interesting, funny, charismatic dude. We featured a video of him speaking a few months back, and I always find his message to be relevant and lasered on point. He’s a Red-Letter Christian and works with the homeless in his neighborhood of Philadelphia. Read the whole post, but here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

“I grew up in the Bible Belt. When I became a Christian, I learned I didn’t have to stop buying stuff — I just had to start buying Christian stuff. An entire world of retail spending possibilities lay before me: the Christian industrial complex. There were Christian t-shirts, bumper stickers, even Christian candy — “testa-mints” — peppermints wrapped in a Bible verse. We were taught “secular” was bad, and supplied with charts that countered popular mainstream bands with a Christian alternative. We burned our old tapes (which is what we listened to back in those days) and went to the Christian albums. We were often sadly disappointed. They just didn’t sound like Metallica. As a friend of mine quipped: “All these Christian artists say, ‘God gave me this song,’ and then you listen to it and know why God gave it away.” I later learned that Christian art doesn’t have to be a mediocre counterfeit of the original. And, I learned that Christianity is not about conforming to the world, but about being transformed by a God who is crazy about the poor, fond of toppling the powerful, and raising the lowly … and who I’m pretty sure would feel conflicted wearing a “God bless Rome” shirt or doting an “Army of One” sticker on the bumper of his SUV… I mean, hybrid. I mean donkey. Never mind.”

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