We Are The Consumer Culture Problem

I’m on vacation until Monday, so this is an auto-post. But please feel free to leave your usual comments and accusations of heresy, and I’ll be back on Monday to answer, with a post following on Tuesday. Keep it real.

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Rant time.

I’m not the sort to promise hell upon people for enjoying simple entertainment. (In fact, I’m not the sort to promise hell for anything short of not believing in Jesus, because that’s, y’know, un-Biblical.)

But something has been brewing in my mind for a while, sending a mighty WALLUMP to the top of my brain every time somebody complains about the bombardment of cheap shallowness we call American consumer culture.

Which I certainly understand.It’s true that our culture seems to have about as much depth as a piece of paper these days. Everything the networks deem noteworthy for us is carefully packaged and marinated in bias, while a great deal more goes unseen. Meanwhile, Beyonce and her bizarre religion-mocking getup are blasted at us, television and movies can’t decide whether to glorify or condemn evil, and our holy holidays are commercialized beyond recognition.

But one factor seems to be escaping us.

It’s our fault.

Don’t blame the media for drowning us with talk of Miley Cyrus. They sell her because we watch.

Don’t blame the industry for giving us “Jersey Shore”, “True Blood”, and “The Real Housewives of Lower Cleveland” (or whatever they’re doing now). They sell them because we binge.

Don’t blame the industry for giving us Transformers 19 (or whatever we’re up to) or James Franco’s latest stoner movie. They sell them because we put butts in seats.

Don’t blame the media for handing Donald Trump all the airtime last election cycle and crowding out other candidates. They sell him because we watch and buzz. (Did you notice how it wasn’t until Marco Rubio started insulting Trump that the networks gave him any airtime? And then they focused on him long enough to register the “small hands” line and cut away as soon as his stump speech arrived.)

Don’t blame the publishing industry for tripe like Fifty Shades of Grey (or Hustler). They give that to us because we read, and make horrible conclusions about the nature of romance and what women should be willing to tolerate from men.

Don’t blame stores for hawking artery-choking junk food. They sell it because we eat it.

Don’t blame the retail industry for commercializing Christmas into oblivion. They do it because we shell out. (You did too, didn’t you?)

We are the problem.  Humans.

We always are.

Every person in the media has kids to feed. They do what makes them money. They also have competition – every creator, studio, network, and publishing house . This forces them to capitalize on “what’s working” rather than take risks. You can’t blame them for any of this. Risks, substance, and real information don’t sell. Just look at C-SPAN.

Here’s an idea: if you want to reduce the chintz that’s become inherent to our civilization’s media, fix civilization.

Am I suggesting a boycott of shallow or decadent shows?

Well, no, not directly. If I did, I’d become another one of those Christians (probably Southern Baptist, amirite? Well, yesurrite) and get dismissed accordingly with a hearty eyeroll. It would be another example of Christians being louder about what they’re against, rather than what they’re for. Besides, it would be ignoring the real problem.

We must fix civilization with the Gospel.

That is, in fact, the only fix.

There are so many problems that stem from the human heart, going far beyond cheap entertainment. Poverty. Abortion. Homosexuality. Racial strife. And too many people are trying to spot-fix these vortexes of sin one at a time without any help from the Gospel. I wholeheartedly agree with charity, idealism, and every earthly solution we can find. But without the Gospel penetrating and changing hearts, it will not help.

But bring to people the message of sin and repentance, of heaven and hope, and these issues will be fixed at their source. Real truth and wisdom will be sought; the hate and selfishness spawning all these social ills will be cured.

Far from what many skeptics would say, it is not Christianity itself that has brought us these things.

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” – G.K. Chesterton

It is not too much Jesus that’s the problem; it’s not enough.

 

21 thoughts on “We Are The Consumer Culture Problem

  1. I totally agree! I found that when I’m began to consume more of Jesus, I desired less of the media that could plant negative seeds in my heart. I always hear my co workers talk about shows such as Being Mary Jane, Have’s & Have’s Nots, Green leaf, etc. My heart go out to them because I know since they’re not anchored in the Lord, shows like that will influence them by teaching them worldly standards, which will forever be lower than God’s best for us. Even my mom watches some of those shows I can see the effects it has on her. Last night, she asked me, “Will you still date someone if they believe in Jesus, but they’re not into their bible like you are?” I responded, “Absolutely not!” See! That’s a clear example of how the media can influence you to lower your standards! I desire God’s best for me and I refuse to waver!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Absolutely true, Brandon. We, as a nation, have strayed so far from our roots it isn’t funny. The Ten Commandments seem to be outdated, but are the basis for moral behavior and we’ve lost track of them. We had a great sermon on David &
    Bathsheba last week, which shows how David failed to obey them when he committed adultery. First and foremost, he forgot who his God was and placed himself in that position. He sinned in his heart when he lusted after Bathsheba. He took her without hesitation. In effect he stole her from her husband. When held responsible for her pregnancy he tried to cover it up with lies and eventually murder. Each one of those laws of God were stomped on by David.

    We, like him, commit similar disobedience each day. For many it’s simply complacency – kind of like not abiding by the speed limit and using it as a suggestion rather than a law. For some, the law is not essential anymore.
    For many, they have never been taught the law.

    It will take the younger generation to restore things to the old ways. This is your time – with God’s help. Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Amen Brandon. I always think to the scene from the Burbs when Tom Hanks character said” it’s not them it’s us!”

    It’s kind of like how we dig our own graves. We need salvation, yet do we truly accept it? Enjoy your holiday.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “We must fix civilization with the Gospel.”

    Yes, indeed. But how? The Gospel is a person, Yeshua. Yeahua changes individual persons and takes up His home in them. Look at Revelation 3:20 … there’s Yeshua on the outside looking in on the church. He’s knocking on the door. But when someone answers the door, Yeshua does NOT go into the church, He goes into the man who answers the door. He rebirths individuals, He reforms individuals.

    And Peter says “be prepared to give an account for the hope that lies within you, WHEN YOU ARE ASKED”. I.e., the world – civilization – needs to see the Gospel (Yeshua) at work IN YOU, so much so their interest is piqued and they ASK you about the source of the LIGHT and LIFE in you.

    Far too often the Gospel is seen as “the book” and well intended but ill informed people take “the book” like a set of rules, and attempt to apply it like a “repair” manual upon others. That’s not the way. Like you said – the ‘problem is us’ – but we really only have the authority to say “the problem is ME” and the authority to seek Yeshua’s repair of the problem that is ME. Remember, Yeshua said to Peter when he inquired of John how he would die “what is it to you what I do with him!?! YOU FOLLOW ME!” There’s plenty of examples in the written gospel of Yeshua practicing a MYOB gospel. See Revelation 22:11 for a good good example.

    I read another post yesterday about the refugee crisis and how so many are coming to the US and in continuing to think about it, and realized something about such posts …

    Typically, such a post takes one of 3 tacks: “They should ….” or “We should …” and very rarely “I should …”.

    “They should …” would seem to imply some unidentified plurality of individuals, in which the author / one making the claim, does NOT include himself. I.e., “They should …” is the domain of religious pharisees – the “do as I say, not as I do” crowd.

    “We should …” includes self, but is potentially judgmental and morally superior, and presumptive of others, who may not hold the same view or have the same leading.

    “I should …” – that’s the one that hits me where I live. What am I willing to do. It drives me to my Creator in prayer and many times He’s broken my heart by showing me His heart in a matter – which showed me how hard-hearted i am and in need of repentance and in desperate need of a love infusion from Him.

    So, for me at least, the solution is:

    “I must fix ME with the Gospel” and pray “advance your kingdom in ME, Father, and in the world, through me”.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. AMEN! I had to post on my Facebook again. I’m speechless. Thank you Lord. I have been praying that God will raise up young men that will proclaim his uncompromised Word, and you are one. Are you being affirmed in your church? I hope that you are. Keep it up. It seems to me that you may be ripening for eldership.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great post. We cannot fix the world at the ballot box. We cannot change things by “voting with our dollars”. Until individuals (that’s me and you) want more of Jesus, we will continue to lap up the slop the world puts in our trough.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The media versus the scriptures. The mighty versus the meek riding into paradise on a donkey. Man’s word versus God’s word. I fall into the trap of getting the balance wrong, fortunately I am aware though. Let Jesus be in all hearts forever. Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

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