Phillip Cary “Why You Don’t Have to Keep Getting Transformed All the Time”

“In consumerist spirituality, the new stuff on offer is mostly new experiences, ‘transformative‘ experiences that you’re supposed to get if you don’t want to miss out on something special in your spiritual life…  Which means… that if you’ve never had the experience they’re selling, they’ll do their best to make you wonder what’s wrong with you…  You’ll be told that without you’re just an ordinary, plain Christian, lacking the extraordinary power and blessing that God wants you to have in your life… Whereas what we have, if we are nothing but ordinary Christians, is greater than all the experiences in the world.  We have Christ himself… Everything else is inessential.”

Consumerism wants to convince us that the kind of thing Christ has to give us–the same person, himself forever–is the last thing in the world we could possibly want…  What the church is doing, when it keeps preaching the same old gospel to produce ordinary Christian lives, is profoundly counter-cultural.  It is a form of resistance to our culture of ever-shifting, ever-changing, desires for new stuff, and an ever-transforming self that’s always getting a spiritual makeover.  What the consumerist churches understand is that they must compete for attention with all the flashy electronic media, the sensory overload and distraction of a vast and sophisticated technology of entertainment.  But they fight fire with fire, worshiping in front of giant TV screens and offering life-changing experiences with every new program, they can only win on consumerism’s own terms: competing for short attention spans rather than developing lasting attachments, offering new experiences and a multitude of choices rather than forming the heart in on enduring pattern of faith, hope, and love.”

The crucial way to fight against false teaching is to preach the gospel of Christ well.  The people caught in the web of consumerist spirituality do not need denunciations of the way they’re living but permission to live differently.  This permission is rooted in the gospel itself, which is good news for anxious Christians as well as for everyone else.”

Phillip Cary “Good News for Anxious Christians


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