Consumerism and Spirituality - People seek comfort in Gap jeans

Many missiologists are pointing towards the spiritual nature of consumerism. While we tend to think of consumerism as being devoid of spirituality, in reality it is not. Advertisers do not sell products--they now sell purpose, meaning, and identity through their products, seeking to fill the spiritual void in American consumers' lives.
One recent study showed that people who are more anxious are drawn towards certain name brands, such as the Gap. "This research points out an interesting but counterintuitive finding: brand personality can be most useful for forging consumer-brand connections with consumers who tend to enjoy such deep connections in the interpersonal context," the authors conclude. Read full story.

Do you think that people seek to find their purpose and identity through clothes, homes, cars, or other material things? How do we break out of this?

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Comment by James Nored on December 18, 2008 at 10:15pm
Greg, I like the John 10 reference to knowing the shepherd's voice. Thanks!
Comment by Greg Ziegler on December 18, 2008 at 6:53pm
James, the "how do you know..." is an interesting question. The anwser mixes objectivity and subjectivity...but somehow, I think we can know. Jesus said in John 10:4 that his sheep know his voice. I knew my dad's voice. I knew it by its sound. I knew it by its content. I knew it because I knew my dad.

I think if we know Jesus, we'll know his voice. There are a lot of folks claiming to know him. Some surely do. But the things many say that he says, don't match up with the Jesus in the gospels.

Objectively, shouldn't God's voice be consistent w/past revelation (Deut 13 has always seemed a fair test to me for the voice of a prophet)? Subjectively, the more familiar I am with the God revealed in the Word, the more aware I am of him in life, even independent of the Word.
Comment by James Nored on December 18, 2008 at 1:42am
Greg, I had not heard that song in a long time. It brought back memories!

Listening to the Lord is hard. There are so many other things calling for our heart, attention, worship. And then, how do you know that the Lord is talking when you are listening?

It is hard not to be shaped by the values of this world!
Comment by Greg Ziegler on December 18, 2008 at 12:26am
I think that whether or not it is intrinsically true for a human being, it is certainly characteristic of our culture. What billboard or t.v. commercial would disagree? So many messages that we're bombarded by. There was an song by a group called The Imperials years ago...the lyrics went something like this, "Are you living in an old man's rubble, are you listening to the father of lies? If you are then you're headed for trouble...if you listen too long you'll eventually die. If you're living as a new creation, if you're listening to the Father of light, then you're living in a mighty fortress, and you're gonna be clothed with power and might."

I think the lyrics are true. We've probably all caved to one degree or another to the "clothes make the man/person" temptation. It's representative of the whole list. The way to break out? Listen to the Lord. Let him determine our values, our sense of worth. And encourage one another in the process. Be willing to live counter-culturally for Jesus. Does this make any sense?

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