Monday, March 08, 2010

The Nihilistic Eros of the Consumer Society

My seminary class this spring is Ecclesiology (theology of the church) and the Sacraments. So far it's been great. The first book that we're tackling is Michael Horton's book, People and Place.

I ran across this quote from the second chapter and thought it was worth noting. You might have to read it a couple times (I certainly did), but I think he rightly presents the current culture's drive for instant gratification through consumerism. In context, he is explaining how the culture (and much of the Church) has manipulated idols to meet our own immediate needs, instead of allowing an external word to reveal what's true about achieving "true shalom":
"The nihilistic eros of the consumer society, which seems to have drawn much of American Christianity into its wake, creates a desire that can never be satisfied. Ads and shop windows offer us a perpetual stream of icons promising to fulfill our ambitions to have the life that they represent: a fully realized eschatology. Handing our credit card to the salesperson can be a sacrament of this transaction between sign and signified. Yet this anonymous space of endless consumption is the parody of the place of promise: true shalom.

Consuming images, living on the surface of immanence, we refuse to be called out of ourselves by an external word that would truly unite us to God and our neighbor. Silently and alone, we surf channels and Web sites, window-shopping for identities."

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