I'm currently reading The Divine Commodity written by Skye Jethani. This piece of literature is one of those slow reads in that the reader is left with much to think about and digest before moving on to the next concept presented. As pieces of this book have been ruminating around in my heart and mind over the last few weeks, I've come to some conclusions about what I feel I'm learning about my own personal consumer driven tendencies in spirituality.
Years ago I heard a talk given by Louie Giglio where he presented the difference between being a consumer of worship music and being consumed by worship. A consumer of worship music is looking for the next greatest hit to take the church or the individual to the next level in their walk with God, while the person who is simply consumed by worship seeks new frontiers every day through which to express their thankfulness and gratitude to God for who He is.
This basic concept of consumerism is the main theme in Jethani's work. The Divine Commodity outlines how our consumer culture has infiltrated the sacred and become a driving force behind the how, why, when, where and what of church and spirituality. It is this presupposition that each of us brings to the table when we consider questions about God, life, love, faith and spirituality. We are driven to consume. Our lives could be described as a journey of tearing up rainbows trying to find pots of gold that just don't exist. When you think about it, each of us is looking for a little piece of comfort, contentment and pleasure in life...we are looking for our next fix. As a culture, we are addicted to consumerism. We buy, pillage, borrow and consume our way through life looking for that one stabilizing big idea that will somehow make everything else in this world make sense. It is in this pursuit and we are exposed for who we really are...carnal beings with an insatiable appetite for more. This is why I believe the teachings of Jesus are so difficult for our North American culture to truly comprehend. We not only have to reject our default programming, we must also reject our cultural norms and standards and embrace a completely counter-cultural way of life in order to find the true rest and peace our souls crave.
Seems impossible, doesn't it? For me the key lies in the presupposition: Am I drawn to consume, or am I willing to be consumed by something that is larger than life? The Bible describes God as being a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29). If we allow ourselves to be consumed by God instead of focusing on devouring the next big thing in attempt to satisfy our insatiable appetite, I wonder if we would find what we are looking for.
I've torn up my fair share of rainbows in pursuit of my next fix. I've consumed more than I thought was possible and still haven't found absolute satiation. But in learning to be consumed by a God who is greater than I can imagine or hope for, I'm learning that the pot of gold I've been searching for pails in comparison to what I've been given in Him.
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