Why I Can't Stand Consumer Christianity

I like to make this blog about positive things, but once in a while I'll divert.  I think today is one of those days.  Revolutionary Love is stirring something in me.  I am so amazed to see hundreds of people give away so self-lessly.  Love that!

There is a growing distaste…dislike…revulsion (yeah) inside me toward consumer Christianity. I think it's there because God is still beating the remains of consumer Christianity out of me.  It's easy to build a church on being cool or by promising what you can do for your members.  It's hard to build a church based on what you can give away and how you can sacrifice.  But it's so much more rewarding.

I'm convinced that the Christian sub-culture many followers of Jesus are caught up in is a form of Christianity but not the real deal. Why? Much of what passes as North American Christianity is basically self-directed.  Our unstated-but-very-apparent goal after conversion is to feed ourselves, protect our families, live in a bubble and get to heaven (and maybe self-righteouslly tell others why they are not going to heaven).

One of the most basic (and hardest to live out) tenets of being a Christ follower is to die to self.  That's what baptism symbolizes.  That's at the heart of Jesus' teaching.  Die to yourself.  Live for others.  Consumer culture teaches the opposite: live to myself and live for myself. Somehow a lot of us still drink that Kool-aid. 

I'm increasingly convinced that church shopping kills disciples.  Pick a church.  Join that mission. Stick with it. Forget what it can do for your family.  Give yourself away. In that, you will find life.

Stop asking what your church can do for you and start asking what you can do for your neighbours and friends and people far from Christ.

Although I really like Connexus, where I serve, I hope Connexus becomes a church where I don't like the music and don't even fully "get" the ministry, but I've thrown myself into it because it's connecting the next generation with Christ.  I would rather sweep floors in a church I don't like that's being effective, than spend a thousand days in some place where only the already-convinced feel gratitfied.

So I'm ranting today.  Reaction?  Any one else cheesed?

6 Comments

  1. Doris Schuster on December 8, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Yeah Jen! Welcome to your new home!
    The only "secret code" we seem to have on the Waumba Land E-team is how the flooring pieces are supposed to fit together when newer volunteers have taken them apart, eh?
    But we love all NEW volunteers!
    Blessing!
    Doris

  2. Allen Forget on December 8, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Carey
    Wow! Strange things always seem to happen when I have something on the brain and then I read the exact same thing in a post. I am totally wierded out!
    I just received an e-mail from a person in the congregation I serve and it made me sad. I usually get one of these e-mails every year around this time and I am sure that you can guess what it is about, being that I am music director.I think what made me the most sad this morning about this e-mail was not only the self serving attitude at this time of year but also the fact that I just realized that my role, in the eyes of the congregation anyway, is that I do indeed serve them! I could just scream with frustration. Why is it that the long time, seemingly experienced and faithful Christian members of our congregation still "don't get it" while our youth group is raising money and putting forward an effort to give a Christmas to an underprivelaged family in our area? Where is the leadership that is going to direct these people down the true path of what it means to be a Christian? I will humbly accept some blame for that! I am a leader in our church. Can the other leaders say that? I totally agree that as people become truly mature in their faith that it should lead to a selfishless attitude but one cannot ignore the innocence and obstacale free attitude that comes from the youth. I wish everyone could capture that again!
    This morning, I have that distaste for the commercial Christmas as well, but mine has leaked right into the last place I thought it would, MY CHURCH!
    Peace to you all.

  3. Jason Poeffel on December 7, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Carey,
    What an unbelievable thing for the church to combat. We're in the bible belt and it just seems that most people just want a comfortable, religious Christianity where they can participate without being challenged to become a true follower of Jesus.

    As a result, church can easily become about great programs and buildings rather than about serving, community and personal change. Don't get me wrong – we should not use this arguement as an excuse for being mediocre, but the focus has to be about maturity. Mature people are becoming less selfish.

  4. Jen on December 5, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Carey, you already know how I feel about Connexus and the mission we're on! :o) And I'm with ya all the way buddy. I still love my 'other' church but almost in a totally selfish way…I love it for my own personal worship time and that original feeling I first had of Jesus in my heart and where I first 'met' Him. Connexus is home now and it took me going to another church for about 2 years and coming up with no friendships to feel truly connected with genuine people who love me and want to see my new faith grow. I hope I never become part of a clique so much so that I ignore the new people looking to follow and to be someone to perhaps help guide them on their journey. I want to be a true example of what I think it means to be a Christian. Love everyone…every walk of life…believers or unbelievers; rich or poor; homemakers or homeless. And all the while trying to spread the good news. No…the GREAT news! :o)

    Kudos to Connexus for not having a 'secret code' that only the original group knows. I'm blessed beyond words to be a part of this place and these people. I've met more friends at Connexus in one month than I have in 2 years elsewhere. No fault of their own, like you said…they're serving the already-convinced and there's a place in the world for that, too. I'm just glad my place is at Connexus. :o)

  5. Timmy B on December 4, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    My experience is that many churches actually make it DIFFICULT to get involved from the beginning, which ends up encouraging even more church shopping for those who may really want to get involved.

    For example, lets say you're really involved in your home church, but have to move to a new town. New church: new relationships, and you have to build up a whole new trust with the people there.

    So, it might take 4 – 12 months before you have a chance to help out in something that you really want to do in a meaningful way, because it takes that much time to figure out the politics of that particular church.

    the really forward people won't have this issue as much, the shy ones will.

    So, if person X wants to get involved, but after a month hasn't figured out the secret code on how to get involved yet, they move on to the next church… and so on.

  6. Peter P on December 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Amen brother!

    Church is about serving. That's all there is to it!

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