A Journey of faith within the church, the culture and the world
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Finding a bridge between consumption and production
In his book Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire, William Cavanaugh writes,
“Consumerism is an important subject for theology because it is a spiritual disposition, a way of looking at the world around us that is deeply formative.”
“The problem is a much larger one: changes in the economy and society in general have detached us from material production, producers, and even the products we buy.”
There’s a way to test this out: Ask a child where fruits and vegetables come from. If the child names a grocery store rather than a farm or an orchard, then there is probably a disconnection between consumption and production.
Ask the same child where your church came from. In fact, ask yourself the same question. How many people know that a number of thriving churches started out as small group Bible studies or as church plants struggling with meager resources?
I have an idea. Let’s give this a shot and see what happens.
1. Start buying produce from local growers rather than from big-chain grocery stores. Take your kids and grandkids along and help them see where things come from. Plant a garden and participate directly in the production process. Share the produce with your neighbors.
2. Connect with an organization that supports fair trade exchanges and buy things from places where you can actually see who made the item you are buying. Learn to see that real human beings dirty their hands making the things we enjoy.
3. Interview someone from your church who was involved in its beginnings, or at least who knows the church’s history. Help you and your loved ones to appreciate where buildings, parking lots, children’s ministries, etc. actually come from.
None of these things will entirely break us from the ravages of rampant consumerism, but they might be ways to rebridge the gap between what we consume and the people and processes involved in production.