So, Monday is my usual day for posting on the blog, but of course today was a holiday. I have a story about today that I will share much later down the road, but needless to say, it will not be a forgettable Labor Day.
I gave a little teaser post about the gospel and consumer culture, and the fact that since taking the class with Kendall Soulen at Wesley I cannot stop thinking about this angle of the church. Today I want to tackle a little bit about what our culture is actually telling us, and how I think we should deal with this as Christians.
Last week I talked about the song “Rich Young Ruler” by Derek Webb, and the story of the rich young ruler in the gospels. This story is particularly tough for me to deal with, being an affluent Western person. I see the pressure of our culture, I give in to the pressure of our culture, and yet I am so conflicted about the state of the world I live in. How can I deal with the point of view given in the gospels in dealing with my wealth. And do not be fooled, if you live in the United States, no matter how modestly, you are rich in comparison to the two-thirds world. A note about the term the “two-thirds world,” once commonly called the “third world” this refers to the two-thirds of the world that is less affluent than the United States.
We live, as I have quoted before, in a society that is constantly pressuring us into buying things. Now due to the way our lives are lived we do have to buy things, we live in cities and towns where a “live off the land” approach is not sustainable. But we are enticed to buy this product or that product through advertising, and a great deal of this is not by merit of a product, but by sex appeal. So how do we counteract and live counter to this cultural push?
We have all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” but have we really thought about why we want to keep up with them? Dave Ramsey the author of “Financial Peace University” says, “Why do we buy things we don’t really need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even like?” Because we all, myself included, feel the pressure of our society to buy, buy, buy because we want to live “the good life.” We as followers of Christ are called to live the “God life” not the life like everyone else.
In John 13:15 Jesus says “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Living the good life may mean not driving the newest fanciest car, living in the biggest fanciest house, or anything resembling the way you think life should look like. But Jesus is worth so much more than the fanciest new car or gadget. And the fulfillment of living a life in the kingdom way is something that we should all aspire to do in a greater way.