Christmas is for Shopping

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: Exposing the lies our culture tells us. December 7, 2008

The Meeting House is running a series called “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid” I caught the first one in the series called

Lie #1 Christmas is for Giving

Introduction – When Culture Becomes A Cult. The cult of consumer capitalism.

The following text was found on the handout for the service:

If a particular church or religious organization claims to be THE only way God is working on the planet, we call it a CULT.  If it makes being a part of any other church or denomination or spiritual organization unthinkable, creating complete dependency on its teachings to know the truth we call that BRAINWASHING.   If a system of rules rituals and routines becomes sacrosanct for salvation we say it is a RELIGION (in the worst sense of the word).   If government invades every space of our lives, telling us that it is THE voice of authority for the citizens in every sector of our multidimensional lives, we call that TOTALITARIANISM (TYRANNY).   If that same government generates loyalty through a barrage of one-sided advertising, creating complete dependency on its teachings to know the truth we call that PROPAGANDA.

When the world of commerce and consumerism becomes everything, when the ability to make money and acquire purchases invades every area, every aspect, and every sector of our lives and coerces our thinking so that we could not envision life in any other way, we call it GOOD CAPITALISM.

And so we find ourselves immersed in a culture that acts like a cult. And in this series we want to offer an urgent message – DON’T DRINK THE KOOL-AID.

Bruxy said that One of the problems in our current society, is that we can’t even begin to think that we have a choice.  The point of this series is simply to alert people to the idea that they do have a choice of whether to opt into the mindset of the consumer socity.

The question to ask is:  “What steps are you taking this year to be more about relationships and less about consumerism?”

Steps to Totalitarian Capitalism:

Step 1 – Create pseudo-needs (faux needs) through an infantlizing ethos

Step 2 – Make advertising omnipresent.

Step 3 – Link Spending with activities, including holidays.

Step 4 – Make shopping its own self-rationalizing activity.  This is the point when shopping itself becomes the activity.  Sample dialogue:  “Do you need to buy anything?  I’m not sure.  Let’s just go to the mall and see what’s there. ”

Detoxifying With Truth

1. Commit to the challenge of maturity. 1 Cor 13:11

2. Turn the impulse to buy into the commitment to relate (to God and others). Hebrews 13:5

3 Invest your energies into giving the right gifts. Luke 6:37-38 and Luke 16: 1-15 http://www.mcc.org

Conclusion: What are you giving for Christmas?

But what if I don’t shop, won’t the economy crumble?

How do we give gifts this holiday season? Bruxy pointed out that the magi did not give gifts to each other to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

Bruxy also pointed out we can learn something about the proper use of wealth by examining the parable of the shrewd manager/steward. The master, who has already fired the steward, told the steward to go and settle all the master’s outstanding accounts.  The master has an interesting response to the steward who has gone and settled his outstanding accounts at a discount.  The master commends the dishonest manager.  So Bruxy suggested that the way out of the predicament for the steward was to use wealth to create avenues to relationship. “Use wordly wealth to gain friends.” Take your money and invest it in those who are in need and in debt.   Create friendships that last for eternity by using your wealth wisely.

As far as Christmas gifts, Bruxy asked attendees what they were doing to have a non-consumerist Christmas.

One person had purchased a goat through World Vision.  “I bought you a goat but I figured you wouldn’t need it so it’s been sent to Africa.”

Bruxy said that in his family they were focusing on giving gifts without a price tag to others.  For example, give them a coupon for an experience with you.  Like offering to take them on a hike.  Or offering them the best foot massage they ever had.

With the measure you receive from God you can give to others.

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