Friday, December 23, 2011

being consumed (at Christmas)

Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire is a great little book. At only 100 pages, there is both a depth of theological reflection, yet an incredibly practical edge. It is an attempt to “sketch out a view of everyday economic life with the use of Christian resources.” (viii)

“The Eucharist tells another story about hunger and consumption.” (94).

The argument is that the Eucharist provides an alternative imagination to globalisation. It’s not just theory, because the assertion that the “church is called to be a different kind of economic space and to foster such spaces in the world” (ix) is followed by some really concrete practices

  • turn our homes into sites of creative production, not just consumption (such a practical alternative perhaps to Christmas)
  • donate time to those in need
  • deposit in community development banks
  • buy locally
  • Christian business practices and
  • Fair Trade

I reckon it’s a sort of Catholic equivalent of Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling in the sense that both seem to provide an integrative center for mission. So in Being Consumed, that integrative centre is the eucharist, while in Culture Making it is the invitation to play in culture that allows a mission, whether it is a minister leading a change, a teenager engaging in social justice, a retired person crafting for charity or a Council worker enacting legislation for the sake of a cleaner city.

(For some of my commentary on this a great little video, see here).

Both seem to provide ways beyond the church-centric imagination that plagues so much of contemporary mission (including fresh expressions) thinking. What is more appealing about Being Consumed, in contrast to Culture Making, is that the eucharist is more more communal, much more social, than the tendency to individualism in culture makers.

Further links:
Consumerism at Christmas (part one)
Consumerism at Christmas (another here).

Posted by steve at 01:36 PM


  1. Sounds like a great read

    Comment by Jason — December 24, 2011 @ 5:14 am

  2. Another book to add to my reading list for my thesis.

    Comment by Bruce Grindlay — January 4, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  3. Thanks Bruce. Off reading for your thesis there is no end 🙂


    Comment by steve — January 5, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

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