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The men who made us spend…. There is a better way

July 25, 2014

 

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The BBC are currently showing a series of programmes by Jacques Peretti titled ‘ The men who made us spend‘ The series follows on from previous titles such as ‘the men who made us fat’ and ‘the men who made us thin’. I would highly recommend catching up with the latest series on iplayer if you have the time.

All of these series and the content in them highlight the significant pull our culture has on encouraging us to be consumers and to be discontent and dissatisfied with both who we are and what we have. The Bible offers us plenty of material to challenge and encourage us about the importance of being content, that who we are is enough (1 Timothy 6:7-10, Philippians 4: 11-13)

It’s good and healthy that we have dreams, hopes and ambitions. We all have gifts, skills and qualities that we can contribute to making the world we live in better and more fair. We should be inspired and encouraged to use these for good. It is however also healthy for us to question our motivations and sometimes examine why we do what we do. This is also true in the way we use our resources and consume. Money in itself is not bad, but we know that the love of it is and that we can’t serve both money and God (Matthew 6:24, 1 Tim 6:10)

The issues underlying this culture of consumerism are brilliantly explored by the writer and musician Benjamin Blower in his book and album entitled ‘Kingdom vs Empire. You can also listen to a brilliant interview he did recently for Nomad Podcast. It’s inspiring and well worth a listen. For the record my consuming weaknesses are in the areas of food (I eat to much) and entertainment (I probably buy to much music and books when I could borrow more)

We must embrace the reality that we are all consumers, and that having stuff is not bad in itself, but are we in danger of being consumed by the very idea of consumption and is it having to much impact, and arguably control over how we live, move and have our being?

Getting practical – Asking ourselves a few questions about how, why and what we consume (Thanks Hannah Swithinbank)

What do I want and why do I want it?

Can I make it instead or can I borrow it?

Is what I’m consuming having a positive or negative impact upon myself, others and the planet?

A great place to start in terms of exploring sharing or borrowing is the brilliant idea of Streetbank.

 

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