« Company size: Big is back | Main | Honorable Marketing »

Aug 28, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Travis Greene

Yeah, you're buying the sizzle, not (just) the steak. And consumption of material objects, like sex or hunger or family or patriotism or whatever, are ultimately good when subordinated to love for God.

But this is like saying all sins boil down to idolatry. It's true and insightful, but it's still helpful to recognize different kinds of sins. It's helpful to recognize gluttony (to use an older term) for the problem it is, even if the real problem is dissatisfaction that comes from not having the love of God central in one's life.

Michael W. Kruse


Thanks ... now buy a bottle of Guinness.


Good points. Maybe we need to get back to the seven deadly sins.

"Consumerism" just doesn't elucidate much for me. I think any of the following could be attributed to what most are calling consumerism.

With conspicuous consumption we are really talking about envy and pride.

With someone who enjoys the power of buying whatever they want we are talking about greed and lust.

With someone who can't seem to control their appetite for certain things we are talking about gluttony.

With someone who won't do the necessary work to bring wholeness to his life and instead tries to buy it via other means we are talking about sloth.

I hear people sometimes say that they know something is true because the looked it up on the internet. It maybe true but it is utterly uninformative. What site? What source?

Similarly to say that a person met a need through consumption tells me nothing. What did they consume? Why did they consume it? Only then can we talk about a response.

Travis Greene

How about "(over)consumption is the vice that corresponds to the virtue of simplicity"?

Michael W. Kruse

In Celebration of Simplicity, Richard Foster uses one of my favorite analogies. Imagine someone drops a length of thread, several inches long, on the table in front of you. You are instructed to position the thread into a perfectly straight line. Using your fingers you push and pull the thread all over the place but, try all you want, you aren’t going to get it into a straight line. But if you take your index finger and place it on one end of the string and then draw it across the table … guess what? The string forms into a perfectly straight line.

There are endless urges, needs, and demands pressing on us at all the times. If we focus our attention on endlessly pushing and pulling the thread of desires into line we will experience futility. Foster says simplicity is not about a quantity of possesssions. Rather simplicity is singleness of focus … focus on God. Focus on God is putting the finger on the string that pulls everything else into line.

Imagine a guy on diet with a real weakness for hot fudge sundaes. He knells by his bed to pray at night. “Lord you know I need to lose weight but you also know my weakness for hot fudge sundaes. So Lord, please deliver me from hot fudge sundaes, because if I can’t stop eating hot fudge sundaes I’ll never get healthy. Those hot fudge sundaes are my biggest obstacle but I know you can deliver me. You have said you Lord over everything, even hot fudge sundaes, so I put my faith in you. Amen.” So now what is the one thing on this guy’s mind? Hot fudge sundaes!

Instead, our prayer should be something more like, “Lord I know you welcome me as your son. I want to become more like you. Transform my heart and mind. Make me into the person you would have me be. You are my all in all. My hope is in you. You are king of kings and Lord of Lords. You are the one who is closer to me than a brother. I worship you and I give all honor, glory and praise to you. Amen.” No what is on this guy’s mind. God. You give power to whatever you focus on … that is what comes to define you.

With both conspicuous consumption and simple lifestyles, there is no objective standard. Almost no one who is conspicuously consuming believes that is what they are doing and almost everyone who is living simply could always live simpler. It’s not that the issues shouldn’t be talked about but organizing our lives around these issues is like praying to be released from hot fudge sundaes. Consuming or not consuming comes to define us, not God and his Kingdom.

Cleaning out the demon of consumerism merely empties the soul for a demon to rush in … say, pride over conspicuous non-consumption. :-) It’s better that we fill up with God and crowd out the demons.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Kruse Kronicle on Kindle

Check It Out