Category Archives: Study

Consumerist Spirituality – The Lie We Buy

The following is a brief essay I wrote on consumerism and spirituality. It is brief due to strict word count limits but may be of interest:

The question has been posed – “Is Consumerism the default spirituality of our age?”. In order to approach a question such as this, one must paint in broad strokes, and think in general terms about a culture which has attempted to define itself in variety. However, I believe there is value in taking a step back for a ‘big picture’ overview of the overarching (or underpinning?) themes which permeate the tapestry of beliefs and practices which we live among. For the purposes of this essay I will be thinking in general terms about Western culture in the Modern-Postmodern (latemodern?) era, particularly focusing on the middle-class culture of the UK and the US. My argument is this – There is a climate of spiritual consumerism in the west today and it is not a new phenomenon. Furthermore this is an outworking of the ‘consumerisation’ of individuals inherent in a society governed by large political/economic powers, a prime example being the polytheism and emperor worship in the Roman empire at the dawn of the early Church.

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When there are more questions than answers…

So, any regular readers might have noticed a bit of a, well, lull in blog posts lately.

To say that the last few months have been busy would be like calling hummingbird ‘slightly animated’.

As if starting a college course and potential career change weren’t enough, we’ve decided to sell our house and move to the area where most of our ministry happens. As I said on twitter a while ago, 

“bureacracy = my kryptonite”

And guess what all of the above involves bucket loads of….

It’s been a amazing and exciting time, but it’s also been a little tough. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I can hardly think about anything other than how damn powerless I feel. And that is pretty much the key point.

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On Thought, Action and Order

This is my attempt to make some sense of a struggle at work in my mind and in the wider Church. For the sake of argument I will be generalising and using stereotypes, so forgive me…

 

So let’s start with some background. Sometimes I fear that my present situation will result in some kind of theological personality disorder (and don’t you dare say schizophrenia, it’s a totally different thing). I attend a reformed evangelical church, with a very strong emphasis on Bible teaching. My own theological position has strong Reformed and Calvinist leanings, and I have generally held to the old war cry of the reformers ‘Sola Scriptura, tota scriptura’ – ‘Only the Bible, all of the Bible’ for the basis of my ‘theology’ – (for the purpose of this exercise I’m treating theology as an umbrella term for interpretation of the Bible, understanding of God and a ‘Christian outlook’ on life). Beyond this I have even been influenced by the (what some would call extreme fundamentalist and right wing) Christian Reconstruction movement. Broadly speaking my theological position could be described as a ‘systematic theology’. Bearing this in mind, most of my life and ministry is spent among emergents, charismatics, fans of liberation theology, left-wing, and generally non-‘sola scriptura’ type people. So basically I have feet deep in both the liberal and conservative camps, and yet I don’t fit into either of them. And I’m not alone.

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