Tag Archives: consumerist

Perspectives- Ease and Struggle

We all have our troubles, and our issues. We all have pain, and problems.

In American, Jesus has often been sold like a product. When there is still struggle, disappointment,and  pain, the “Jesus is the Answer,” for some people just feels like a broken promise. Maybe even, a crappy snake oil kind of product. It’s quite a consumerist mentality.

ChineseJesus

Asian depiction of Jesus painted c.1880s

 

In many parts of the world though, being a follower of Jesus means one pays dearly. Perhaps in health quality, comfort, safety, status, personal/family economics, and in quite a number of cases, with one’s life. Is Jesus still the answer? Well, in the gobal South and East more adults have willingly claimed Jesus as Savior and Lord in the last 35 years, than in ALL the last 1,500 years combined. Christianity is booming like never before worldwide, and greatly outpacing any other belief system. One missiologist suggested, where there is struggle, oppression, and suffering, Jesus shows up.

(note: You may have heard Islam is the fastest growing relegion in the world, but consider that Muslims claim any one living in an Islamic state (at any age from birth on) and those under newly-changed Muslim governmental regimes, or anyone converted by force to Islam are considered Muslims in these tallies. A personal faith, or a conscious and unforced decision to choose one’s faith is not considered a criteria for Islamic adherence in these statistics.)

Simply put, the gospel message, and a person’s receiving of it, doesn’t result in an easier life. Maybe even the opposite is true, but it continues to be the hope and healing many give their lives for.  The affluence of America, and other Western countries, has seemed to create an entitlement mentality or expectancy of a time of comfort or ease for the spiritual journeyer. That concept seems to be a cultural construct, more than anything. And it seems a childish one, at that. We are here to help each through life, which can be very difficult indeed. There is something about the struggle that helps us grow, and makes us better than before, by grace.

I won’t kid you. Some people honestly need to be chemically helped with medication to feel well. That is in a different category, in my opinion. A doctor, and probably both a spiritual director and therapist can assist here, for those who cannot see life as anything but gloomy, or can’t get out of bed in the morning.

How does this play out in the real world, and in the blogosphere?

It’s quite interesting. I have stumbled on SO many blogs. So many perspectives. In them, people reveal who they are, and what they really believe in, value, or to whom they sacrifice. They tell who they count as important, whether they put themselves and their comforts in the center of their lives, or if they use their time to inspire. I have been saddened to see so many negative Christian blogs, consumed with bemoaning one thing or another.

Here are two authors whose blogs I visit. X & O

They are WILDLY different, and I still get baffled by it sometimes.

I visit one more than the other. One is a professing Christian, and one is not. Since I can’t be in the mind of either author, I must admit, I really can’t know what they experience, much at all. I can’t condemn either one, I don’t want to, and I won’t. 

Yet, one insight emerges after witnessing these two perspectives, when I ask myself,

“Who would I rather emulate?”

I ask myself, “How do I want to be in this world?’

I’ll leave general observations and summations to you.

If the exploration reveals anything for you–I’d be quite interested in your responses.

Who has inspired you, as you read various blogs?

And why?

5 Ways to Know if You Pray Like a Consumerist…

Do you Pray like a Consumerist, and don’t know it? Many of us have slipped into a consumer mindset, and don’t realize it. It could be hurting our spiritual growth. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to see if you may need some kind of revision in your communication with God. 

 

busy day

 

You may be praying like a consumerist if…

1. Your praying resembles window-shopping, or a trip to the superstore with a credit card.

2. If you imagine God a bit like a waiter, or butler in the sky.

3. If bargaining or haggling seeps into your communication to God.

4. If waiting for answers to your prayer requests is just as awful, or feels eerily similar, to waiting in a long checkout line.

5. If your prayers tend to be mainly focused on you, and your concerns, and often do not include worship, praise, or gratitude.

If you answered “yes” to 2 or more of these questions, consider revising how you view and engage in prayer, and communication with your God: Creator and Redeemer.

The Takeaway– Prayer is communication. It changes us because through it we may become more like our God, if we yield to God and allow him to work in our hearts. When God is the primary focus of our prayer life, more growth is possible–this involves both speaking and listening to him.

(For a new way to engage in prayer using Scripture, and a focus on listening to God, do a search here for Lectio Divina.)

Thanks for reading!

Leave your responses. Was there ever a time when you prayed like a consumerist?