Eugene Peterson on North American Religion

consumerism

Yes! *Fist pump*

North American religion is basically a consumer religion.  Americans see God as a product that will help them to live well, or to live better.  Having seen that, they do what consumers do, shop for the best deal.  Pastors, hardly realizing what we are doing, start making deals, packaging the God-product so that people will be attracted to it and then presenting it in ways that will beat out the competition.  Religion has never been so taken up with public relations, image building, salesmanship, marketing techniques, and the competitive spirit.  Pastors who grow up in this atmosphere have no awareness that there is anything out of the way in such practices.  It is the good old free enterprise system that works so well for everyone except the poor and a few minorities.

Eugene Peterson, “Under the Unpredictable Plant,” page 35,36

As a pastor, I find myself living in this tension every single day!

Where do you see consumerist tendencies integrated within your church community?  What would it look like to re-imagine our consumerist church structures?

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4 comments

  1. Robert Martin · April 18, 2013

    THIS! YES! THIS!

    And as I was talking with Scott Roth last night, it comes down to how we preach the gospel. It’s a gospel of “me”, getting “personal salvation”, of “getting in”, of “graduating”, of a transaction of “say the prayer, get saved”… There’s no engagement in something bigger.

    He put it on the lines of when you Christen a ship after it’s been built, the ship doesn’t stay in the shipyard, it is christened to GO.

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