Friday, October 18, 2013

Spiritual Consumerism

Years ago I read the book The Wild Man’s Journey by Richard Rohr. Rohr is a Catholic and the Wild Man’s Journey may be likened to Promise Keepers with a Catholic twist. This devotional article, which was shared with me by a good friend, was put on Rohr’s devotional web site. It immediately grabbed my attention.

For those of you reading this post who are Protestants, I’d ask that you set aside your preconceived notions about Catholics for a bit and consider this short article by Rohr. I want to remind you that it’s arrogant to believe that you can’t learn something from those who are of a different Christian tradition. I understand the Protestant reaction to much of Catholicism, but not everything that’s Catholic is bad. 

For my Catholic readers, consider what Rohr is saying to you! For many Catholics, faith in Christ is taking the sacraments and showing up to services twice a year. That’s not Christianity! Christianity is changing your mind about your sin (It’s ugly and damnable) and changing your mind about God (he’s glorious, loving, and beautiful) and accepting Christ’s free gift of salvation for nothing more than your faith (which is a reflection of your change of mind). Christ absorbs Gods just wrath for our sin, thus demonstrating Gods deep love for us. We are both saved by faith and grow spiritually by faith. 

For my secular friends, or for my friends who just don’t care about spiritual things, maybe its time to care. Consider taking what Jesus says seriously. It’s not as foolish as you may think. Ask yourself, is this true?! Because frankly, much of western culture is wrapped in consumer clothes, and Rohr sees through that! Enjoy!

Spiritual Capitalism by Richard Rohr

The phrase “spirituality of subtraction” was inspired by Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), the medieval Dominican mystic. He said that the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition. Yet I think most Christians today are involved in great part in a spirituality of addition, and in that, they are not really very traditional or conservative at all. 

The capitalist worldview is the only one most of us have ever known. We see reality, experiences, events, other people, and things—in fact, everything—as objects for our personal consumption. Even religion, Scripture, sacraments, worship services, and meritorious deeds become ways to advance ourselves—not necessarily ways to love God or neighbor.

The nature of the capitalist mind is that things (and often people!) are there for me. Finally, even God becomes an object for my consumption. Religion looks good on my resume, and anything deemed “spiritual” is a check on my private worthiness list. Some call it spiritual consumerism. It is not the Gospel.

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 114