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Consumerism

“As Christians, then, we find ourselves in the awkward position, indicative of a genuine tension, of accepting our Lord’s teaching about the dangers of accumulating possessions as true, and yet unable to arrest the desire and endeavor of adding to this abundance. The “consumer within” is a driving force indeed!” (Father Steven Kostoff)


“The primary definition of service, from the Latin servitium, means the occupation or condition of a servant. And “servant,” from the Latin servus, means “slave.”  What a blow this is to our proud modern American ego that normally understands service in terms of what people, business, technology and things can do for us. In a society whose economy is largely driven by consumerism, it’s no wonder the “service industry” is prominent. It’s how a majority of Americans earn their living these days, “slaving” for others. Somehow this idea of service doesn’t seem to translate well into our spiritual lives. Our life “in the world” has so accustomed us to seek, expect and demand service from others that when it comes to our relationship to God and His Church, we often do the same thing. Contrary to the teaching and example of Christ [Matthew 20:28], we frequently find ourselves coming to church to BE served, rather than TO serve.” (Archpriest Daniel)


“But I’m in a hurry, and I don’t know why. I’m driven by some odd compulsion that makes me feel I’ve always got to DO something: to perform, accomplish, create, whatever. I’ve bought in to the competitor-consumer mentality of the world I live in, and I can’t ever do enough to buy my way out. If I make more money, achieve some goal (usually suggested by somebody else), work hard enough to merit a few strokes from those above me, or simply keep busy enough so I don’t feel guilty at knocking off for a few hours, then my life is worthwhile, then I’ve succeeded. But of course I can’t ever win that frantic race. It’s not just because there are too many others ahead of me. It’s because I’m in the wrong race to begin with. “Take time to smell the roses,” they tell us. No, take time to plant, cultivate and cherish those roses. Take time to make warfare against frenetic activity and compulsive over-achievement, time to take stock of values and virtues long lost in the dust of “doing things.” (Very Rev. John Breck)


“…some people feel a terrible flatness in the everyday, and this experience has been identified particularly with commercial, industrial, or consumer society. They feel emptiness of the repeated, accelerating cycle of desire and fulfillment, in consumer culture; the cardboard quality of bright supermarkets, or neat row housing in a clean suburb”…Material abundance can engender this existential sense of lack precisely because the swelling of immanence seems unable to make up for a pressure we still feel — from transcendence, from enchantment.” (Charles Taylor, James K.A. Smith)


“Christ directs all of us to seek the highest good. If life is not a matter of abundant possessions, as the consumer mentality would have us believe, then what is our true goal? What is worth having? What endures eternally? Without denying that we have needs in this world, the Lord Jesus sets before us the single, primary goal that gives life genuine meaning vitality: the kingdom of God (Luke 12:31).” (Dynamis 11/9/2020)


"The first-created man, by severing the tie of this world from God (when he began to use the world apart from God for its own sake), became the first official “consumer.” We on the other hand must reverse the Fall in our own lives by re-connecting this world and our lives back to the source of all: Christ, the Life-giver and Creator." (Archimandrite Sergius)

"The folly of modern economies is that they require constant growth. Consumer goods are named this for a reason. An enormous system of advertising and media manipulation seeks to turn us into true consumers. And for us to want things we must be convinced of our need for them. Someone who is satisfied with life and them self has no need for the products that promise to bring fulfilment. So advertisers set out to make us feel dissatisfied with who and what we are and with as many aspects of our lives as they can achieve. It starts with our children and continues throughout our lives." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“Living in this consumer-centered, commercial-filled world, we are constantly being told that we have a right for more and better. Such a message may make for effective advertisement, but it spells poor theology.” (Dave Earley)

"In a world where consumerism is the new golden calf, we think that having things will make us happy. Actually, it is often the reverse, as we are held hostage by the many things in our lives. But happiness doesn't come from having thing. Rather, having things can actually cause a fear. The poor person who wants nothing does not fear his/her things being stolen, because there's nothing to steal. The anxiety that comes from wanting to protect property is nonexistent for the person who doesn't own the property." (Marianne C. Sailus)

“The economic and monetary crisis that leads to an increased disparity between rich and poor is understood … to be primarily a ‘spiritual’ and/or cultural crisis. It is attributed to unrestrained individualism that leads to an excessive desire for wealth and to consumerism. Individualism and consumerism have disconnected people from loving God and their neighbor.” (Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis)


#ArchimandriteSergius #FatherSpyridonBaily #DaveEarley #MarianneCSailus #FrEmmanuelClapsis #FatherStevenKostoff #ArchpriestDaniel #VeryRevJohnBreck #CharlesTaylor #JamesKASmith #Dynamis

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