Monday, December 10, 2012

Dissatisfaction: When Culture distorts Creation

The following is a very brief excerpt from not-so-brief paper on "consumerism" I recently wrote for my Faith in Contemporary Culture class at the Irish Bible Institute.  I hope reading it challenges you as much as writing it did me.  Spoiler alert: it may cause you to re-think The List you sent Santa :)

God created humanity to consume.  Not even our most basic needs can be met without consuming external resources.  We need air to breath.  We need food to eat.  We need to consume to survive.  All of these processes remind us that we are not self-sufficient.  We cannot sustain our own existence.  We need outside help.  This speaks to the very core of our divine purpose.  God designed us to desire something greater than ourselves, something that can only be satisfied through a relationship with him.  But as a result of the fall, humanity’s first reach for self-reliance and instant gratification, our desires become misplaced.  We begin to search for the restoration of our lost satisfaction in material things, all the while drifting further away from the abundant life offered through the consumption of our Creator.

We trade-in God for the newest thing on the market.   We allow our desires to be manipulated and our identities to be distorted by the every-increasing yearning for more stuff.  We chase significance through material possession, becoming distracted from the promise of total fulfillment in God.  Our constant dissatisfaction makes us incapable of enjoying abundance in him.    

Finding fulfillment in the richness of our Creator provides a way for Christians to begin reversing the shifts caused by consumerism.  We can return from individualism to community.  From selfishness to sacrifice.  From consumption to discipleship.  In this way we become more than consumers, we become producers, “active and creative participants in the material world” finally realizing “our true vocation as sharers in the creative activity of God."

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