Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Question.

I have saved most of my thoughts about consumerism for one week before Christmas. I think that I become too angry and I needed some time for mellowing before attacking an issue that resonates deeply with me. I will begin with one simple question:

Is Jesus honored by our mass purchases?


Lee Y said...

Interesting question, but I need some clarification.

First, by “mass purchases” do you mean buying stuff that is very large in physical size? Like if I was to buy 50 bails of hay, that would be a massive amount of hay and could constitute a “mass purchase”. Or, are you referring to purchases that cost a lot of money? For example if I buy a house or car, which would be a massive transaction and would certainly fall within the category of mass purchase.

Come to think of it maybe you mean if we just bought in mass quantities of small items, so if I bought 1,000 nails? That would be a mass purchase. Or there are those philanthropic organizations that will buy hundreds of thousands of vaccination shots for children in the third world. There’s no getting around it, that would be a mass purchase. Or perhaps you just mean the parent that goes out and buys a laptop computer and ipod for their daughter in college. I guess that could be considered a mass purchase. Yikes, I guess I’m just really confused.

At the end of the day, I’m not really sure if Jesus is honored with any of our purchases. If I but a gallon of milk from UDF, maybe God’s honored…but mostly I think He’s just like, “oh Lee’s buying milk.”

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

first, i think god is concerned that you are buying milk. otherwise, we accept the dualistic notion that things which are "spiritual" are separate and unconnected from everything else. i think he is happy that you are buying milk from a cow he created rather than pespi with crazy amounts or high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and red 25, blue 6, and yellow 5.
second, i was hoping someone would bring up the "mass purchases" issue. thank you for being insightful enough to do so. i will clarify my question in a later post.

Lee Y said...

Well of course He would rather I buy milk than Pepsi. Everyone knows that God is a Coke fan. Truth is I'm not convinced God is any more pleased when I buy milk than I when I get an ice cold coke. I have the feeling He just enjoys watching his creation and appreciates the simple things, like when I watch my son buy some candy at Kroger with "his own money". I don't care if Houston's buying an apple or a pack of gum. I just love my son. Now when you get into the whole "mass purchases" business, then that could change some things. For example I would have a problem with Houston buying 10 cases of snickers bars with the intent of eating them all that afternoon.

But what the heck do I know. You lost me at “dualistic notion.”

simeonshope said...

Interesting conversation...I affirm that God loves soda (it has fulfilled his commission of making disciples of all lands:) I was very intrigued by your discussion on dualistic notions (like your spirit going to heaven after you die without your body or the bodily resurrection???? How do these dualistic notions align with the rest of theology, especially if God is so concerned about what we eat...would not God care more about the slaughtering of cattle than drinking milk or soda???? Or even beyond the food discussion and about the real topic of consumerism: how serious must someone embrace Jesus' commission to sell all and give to the poor? As one has said before, this command (to sell all) was only spoken once, but so was the statement "you must be born again" Either way, some thoughts from a way out there disciple of an Asian guru

-Steb- said...

My dear friend Lee;

I know that the combined stress of wrestleing with the ideology of mass purchases, and coming to a deeper understanding of the incarnated Christ can at times make one feel small and insignificant. I understand what this kind of stress can do to a man, I too sometimes feel like i am "but a gallon of milk from UDF", but we must remember that God think much higher of us than this. I deeply appriciate your sincere wrestle with this issue, and I value your valiant effort. I realize that this is a tough issue but I want to encourage you to hang in there, and to keep going. Brighter day are coming my friend!!!!

Anonymous said...


You make my day brighter. :)

Matt Frye said...

i think that consumerism effects more than know. it not only adds to our collection of un-needed junk, but as americans who only produce 5% of the worlds goods, and conusme more than 40%, we allow the injustice of sweat shops and things that nature (in my arnold voice) to continue. until we can put a face with a product no one will really care that we are supporting a an injustice that i tend to believe that jesus is upset about. not only that, but think about the amount of people in this country especailly who are on antidepressants. in a country where you can just about anything you want, we have people who are lonely beyond belief. so i tend to think that mass purchases is a spiritual matter. god cares about what we spend (blow) our money on. he cares about the people who are marginalized so that they can make a few pennies to feed their families. he also cares about people who are rich with possesions but dead spiritually. jesus talked about this a few times.

Katie W. said...

I think that when we mass purchase things we become narrow sighted. We become so involved in what we want to buy we begin to block out those who are around us. As long as we get what we wanted to buy nothing else matters. A quesion everyone should ask themselves when they're out shopping this Christmas is; "Is this really a need?" I've decided that this year I'm not going to buy anything that isn't needed. If we truly trust God we won't worry about what we want. With a deep relationship in Christ, our wants become His wants. You can draw your own conclusions to that.

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

katie w.,
so what did you end up buying?

Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."