Great Discussion on Consumerism

Mark sent me a link to a good panel discussion on consumerism in reference to my post below, the guys on the panel were;

John Ortberg, teaching pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Northern California, and author of many books, including The Life You’ve Always Wanted (Zondervan, 2002).

Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, and author of Preaching Reimagined (Zondervan, 2005).

Efrem Smith, pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, and author of The Hip-Hop Church (IVP, 2006).

Will Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the author of several books, including Pastor: A Reader for Ordained Ministry (Abingdon, 2002).

Here is how it finishes, I like this –

On the positive side, we can also help people experience the joy of generosity. One of the coolest messages I ever heard on giving was by Shane Claiborne, who is part of a community that advocates for poor and homeless folks in Philadelphia.

When I was in Chicago, he spoke to one of our services. And at the end he said, “When I’m done here tonight, I’m going to go be with some homeless folks in Chicago, and a lot of them don’t have shoes. And they need shoes. So I’m just asking anybody who’s willing, take your shoes off, bring them up here, and I’ll take them into the city.”

There ended up being 1,500 pairs of shoes left after the service, and people went home in their socks.

Smith: Generosity is one antidote to consumerism. And instead of just talking about money, I try to talk about it in the context of a bigger issue, which is stewardship. We cheapen stewardship by making stewardship just about money. It’s time, talent, treasure and temple. In that context, I try to talk about stewardship as much as I possibly can.

Some preachers say it’s easier to preach about money than about entertainment. How do you speak to the spiritual issues related to amusing ourselves?
Ortberg: If Jesus was preaching today, one of the forms of fasting he might talk about would be fasting from media. So about once a year or so, I’ll challenge people to go for a week without watching TV or DVDs and just see what happens. Because a really good way to find out the role that something plays in your life is to abstain from it for a while.

The word boredom has come into common usage only in the last 150 years. Ancient Greeks had no word for boredom. Ironically, when people didn’t have all the sources of stimulation that we have become dependent on, they didn’t have the experience of boredom. It’s like we have these internal mental muscles, the ability to focus attention, which has just gotten enormously weak.

So sometimes I talk about how good it is to not be dependent on outside stimulation to have a rich inner life. People want that.

Source here.

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