Thursday, June 10, 2010

You are what you eat: Christian consumption

"Our nation’s public economists usually refer to you in your capacity as consumer. This is in contrast to previous and wiser eras, when citizens were thought of as producers, and as savers. But we have departed from the way, and when disaster strikes, one of the things we think to do, is spend our way out of it. Republicans want to spend out way out this way, and Democrats that way, but we all think that consumption is king. Our understanding of consuming has become deranged.

But this is not because it is bad to consume. Your fundamental identity is wrapped up in what you consume. Here, at this Table, you assemble weekly to consume an oath, to drink a covenant. The issue is therefore an inescapable one — the question is not whether you will be a consumer, but rather what you will consume.

The world entices you to consume according to their principles, according to their law, according to their covenants. You must not. Rather, you come here in order to be disciplined according to the words of our Lord, and to have your desires and wants tamed and regulated by what you eat and drink here.

Learn consumption here. As you have done so, you will be equipped to behave like a sane person when you go out into the market. You will no longer spend as those who are without God and without hope in the world. When you learn consume rightly, you produce more than you consume, and you do so out of love for others. When Jesus fed the multitudes, they always wound up with more afterwards than they had when they started. He is doing the same thing here with us now."
- Doug Wilson. H/T Mike Bull.
Yes, we are all consumers, or at least we all consume, and this is not irrelevant to our identity, but nonetheless we are still not all necessarily consumerist. We are not defined simply by what we consume (even at the Lord’s table, since some consume to their own judgement), but by what we receive, what we give, what we share. Our god is not our stomach, even though we can certainly eat and drink to the glory of God.