McLaren: Consumerism is an idol and buy my book


I don’t even know where to begin.  In Brian McLaren’s Christmas message he starts out by telling people to buy the CD he produced, then he tells everyone to buy his book and give it away.  Later on he points out that "Consumerism is the notion that the more we consume the better off we will be. As I explain in the book, it’s the supreme idolatry of our times."

You can also spend $100 to register for "everything must change tour".   This tour is part of  "this emerging movement of transformation and this growing revolution of hope."  You can check out more of at DeepShift.org. 

I don’t get it.  How can anyone say buy my stuff and give it to your friends and then say consumerism is the supreme idolatry of our times?  Bene Diction asks whether McLaren has sold out.   I don’t know but I do know there was a guy who led an "emerging movement of transformation" two thousand years ago but he didn’t charge a fee, although he might have asked to eat at your house!  If you need to charge for your revolution it isn’t a revolution.

The deception of consumerism runs deep.  I see it all over the place as the church drifts towards fee-for-service ministry.  Increasingly we have adopted the marketplace as tool to further our objectives somewhat blind to the reality that the marketplace changes us.  In this era of ecclesial relativism people buy in to whatever works to bring people in to the building or provide anecdotal success stories. 

McLaren has an "everything must change" tour…I don’t know if everything must change but one area to start would be our reliance on profit oriented publishing and distribution.  We should be the ones pioneering open source resources and low-cost electronic distribution.  We should be taking a different stance than the world on intellectual property and copyright. 

In other places of the world where church has almost no "resources" and it thrives.  We are inundated with stuff….Jesus junk.  We have libraries and libraries of it and has it really made a difference?  I don’t think so. 

This post might be one of the first on the subject.

  1. #1 by A.B. Dada on November 26, 2007 - 10:11 am

    I’m a vocal opponent of the not-for-profit congregation that exists in the United States in typical form. Most congregations are registered 503/c not-for-profit, which is a kick in the rear in terms of regulating their speech. One of the most important aspects of being a leading organization to a flock is to be able to guide them in more than just a spiritual journey, but a realistic life journey. Not being able to speak out about government, war, taxes, and welfare is a huge reason why congregations are failing left and right.

    The next step for the “true” Church is to dissolve any connection to the government. This means becoming a “for profit” church without earning an actual “profit.” I see no problem with people being paid for their services or products if their services or products meet a demand at a price others are willing to pay.

    Since people are hungry for guidance (spiritual or otherwise), it makes sense for the pastor, ministry leaders, and missionaries to earn a paycheck meeting that demand. How much they should earn should be a product of what those with a supply of dollars are willing to pay.

    If you attend a religious congregation, I think the most important step you can take is to convince the leadership team to disavow themselves of their 503/c status and move forward in discovering a way to truly lead their flock. If it means selling books, so be it. A congregation can be for-profit in status, with open financial records, and still be truly not-for-profit.

  2. #2 by Rob K on November 27, 2007 - 9:10 pm

    I thought you weren’t doing this anymore LT?

  3. #3 by Mike on November 28, 2007 - 9:29 am

    Thanks for a thoughtful post. I love the irony!

  4. #4 by samuel on December 2, 2008 - 11:38 am

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