Consumerism and Spirituality

Am I the only one who feels a little uncomfortable when people joke about retail therapy?

Did anyone else feel uneasy about the masses lining up for days to get their hands on an iPad as soon as they went on sale?

Is our happiness really dependant on the power to buy items that will soon be outdated or superseded?

I don’t have a problem with the iPad and would probably enjoy using one if I could afford it, but I was quite concerned by the hype that drove people to stores around the world to participate in a buying frenzy. The latest I heard is that they’re still selling at one every three seconds. They may be quite wonderful but they’re not the answer to the world’s woes.

Whether it’s shoes, clothes, electronic gadgetry, food or whatever else, we seem to repeat the process of purchasing as much as we can, growing dissatisfied with it, then going out and doing it all over again in the hope that the next purchase will bring the contentment we’re seeking.

To a great degree it doesn’t even matter what we’re buying. Consumerism is all about the purchasing. We gather together to worship at shopping centres that have become our cathedrals.

We need to purchase a variety of items just to live our lives but we can so easily cross the line and let that purchasing process become an end in itself.

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Rev Dr Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and Vice President elect of the Baptist World Alliance. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today we talked about consumerism and the way it is affecting so many lives. We live in a world where millions are dying because they don’t have enough, yet just as many are dying due to excess.

If you want to hear what Ross had to say about the spirituality of consumerism just click the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

It’s hard not to get caught up in consumerism when we’re surrounded by it constantly but I’m working towards the kind of attitude that Paul talked about in the Christian Scriptures.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:12

What we own or what we can buy shouldn’t define who we are. Satisfaction, deep satisfaction, doesn’t come from consuming more and more. Purchasing will never add more meaning to our lives.

Are you ready to fight back against the lie of consumerism?


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Living Simply with Attitude

buy_the_world.jpgIs life really all about the things we buy, the things we wear, the things we own?

We might say no but do our actions and attitudes say something quite different?

We might like to quote Matthew saying, And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” but are we just kidding ourselves? Are we still just running after the same things that everyone else is?

Life Skills Trainer, Jill Bonanno, joined me this morning on 98.5 Sonshine FM for our regular Friday morning radio segment, Simply Living. Our topic today was Simply Living with Attitude but we seemed to cover quite a range of things.

We touched on Valentine’s Day before moving onto some listener feedback. That led us to reviewing our segment on TV from a couple of weeks back. Far from being an attack on television, we simply discussed how we can be in control of television and other technologies rather than letting technology controlling us.

Have you ever thought of setting aside a day each week where you unplug? Unplug the phone, the TV, the computer and all the gadgets that can so easily soak up our time. Spend the day reading, walking, learning, buliding relationships. If you shudder at the thought, that might be an indication of how much of a hold technology has over you.

Our chat turned to the destructive way that we can try to keep up with those around us in our spending habits and lifestyles instead of deciding on a life that lets us develop into the people we were created to become.

If you’d like to hear some of the ways we can claim back our lives just use the audio player at the bottom of this post to listen to this morning’s segment.

I’d love to read your comments on how you control the ‘stuff’ in your life rather than letting it control you.

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Shiny Things

nokia.jpgIt’s often far too easy to buy into the whole consumerism lie. It’s all around us and it’s so tempting to let ourselves start justifying the purchase of things we really don’t need.

I’ve mentioned before that my mobile phone is nothing special. It makes calls, it takes calls, it sends text messages. That’s all I really need a phone to do. It’s got no camera, no bluetooth, no extras.

When I think about it, having a mobile phone is a bit of a luxury anyway. A mate of mine has only recently succumbed to pressure to get a mobile and I think he’s still wondering if he did the right thing.

Over the past couple of weeks the on – off button has stopped working on my current handset. As long as I keep the phone charged that shouldn’t be a problem but if it ever goes off, it’s dead. Of course that makes getting on a plane in a couple of months a bit of an issue. I don’t think they’ll understand if I tell them I can’t switch off my mobile.

Time to get a new phone. I found a very nice one for just $199. It’s even got a 2 Megapixel camera and several other features that I’ve never had on a handset. While looking at phones a friend said he had one identical to my current one that he no longer needs and he offered it to me. I still thought a new one would be a better idea.

I was thinking about it later and remembered that not only don’t I have $199, I don’t really need a shiny new phone. I got in touch with my friend and I’ll get my ‘new phone’ later this week.

It would have been so easy to get a new phone and to feel very justified in doing so, after all, my phone needed replacing, but as is often the case there is an alternative.

How good are you at justifying the things you buy? I don’t think that we should never treat ourselves but are there things you buy that you really don’t need? Are there cheaper options that you ignore because you want shiny new things?

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