Articles 

Cathedrals of consumerism

Consumerism is more than simply buying lots of stuff, at its heart consumerism is an attempt to answer existential questions – how can I be accepted? How can I be pure? How can I be beautiful? How can I have meaning & purpose in life? As a result it’s no surprise that companies who do this best have created spaces that borrow ideas from sacred spaces. Atlas Obscura invited cultural historian Erica Robles-Anderson, a professor at New York University, to an Apple Store in Manhattan. Here are some highlights: Apple, more than any…

Christian Living 

God’s antidote to consumerism

It’s no longer a point of debate that, in the West at least, we live in a consumer culture. Yet this culture, where we are defined more by what we consume than by what we produce, has grown ever more powerful. So much so that this way of life is deemed to be ruining the entire planet. It has its own ‘ism’ – consumerism and this approach to life is generally deemed to be at odds with the gospel. There are of course places where Christianity has sought to co-opt…

London's Burning: Is consumerism to blame?

As the riots appear to calm down so the discussion about the causes of it rises. This won’t die down in a hurry. Here are some early thoughts from around and about but an early contender appears to be consumerism. Early on it seems agreed that these riots became principally about sheer naked greed. Certainly the Bad Samaritans make it seem that way. As Giles Fraser comments, ‘But underlying so many of these problems is a general culture of acquisitiveness that has come to shape our society…Many of those rioting…

London’s Burning: Is consumerism to blame?

As the riots appear to calm down so the discussion about the causes of it rises. This won’t die down in a hurry. Here are some early thoughts from around and about but an early contender appears to be consumerism. Early on it seems agreed that these riots became principally about sheer naked greed. Certainly the Bad Samaritans make it seem that way. As Giles Fraser comments, ‘But underlying so many of these problems is a general culture of acquisitiveness that has come to shape our society…Many of those rioting…

Trueman on consumerism

Q has a brief article from Carl Trueman on the perils of consumerism, it has some great quotes and insights. I’ve reproduced it all here for discussion. Q: You argue at great length about the negative impact of consumerism on the Church. How has it influenced us? A: In economies that depend upon people buying things, there is a need on the one hand to instill the notion that, in some sense, the meaning of life is to be found in the acquisition of goods, or, perhaps to be more…

Trueman on consumerism (and the Superbowl)

I like reading Carl Trueman’s blogs. More than I appreciated going to his lectures. Have I mentioned that already? Anyway, Dr Trueman begins by having a go at the Superbowl but in the middle nails consumerism with a shot to the head. “Why the obsession with the commercials?  Yes, some of them are funny; but is it not sad that it appears that the cleverest minds, and so much money, are focused on such things? And that the population spend so much time talking about them? Do these people have…

Not the end of consumerism

Richard Docwra over at Life Squared gives an interesting dissection of this article from the NY Times. Here’s a taster: “There are glimmers of clarity in the article – for example, the opening paragraphs discuss a couple’s journey of downsizing their income, consumption and debts, in order to get the life and jobs they want. It ends with the wise observation from one partner ‘I really believe that the acquisition of material goods doesn’t bring about happiness’.” And ends with this: “Perhaps it is asking too much of the business…