prayer posts: "jesus’ spiritual disciplines & the ethics of consumerism"

So I’m doing some thinking about prayer lately. And praying about prayer too. I’m mulling over a preaching series on prayer later in the spring (like April/May-ish), among other reasons, and thought I’d take a second look at some old posts. Also, this blog is coming up on its 2 year birthday in April…so, why not a repost here and there in those two veins: (1) a look back occasioned by the upcoming second birthday of the blog, and (2) current mode of thinking and praying through prayer. So, without further adieu, a repost of the first post made on this blog after the one sentence test message offering a welcome to all who come greeting upon this small piece of virtual real estate.


“Jesus’ spiritual disciplines & the ethics of consumption”
originally posted 20 April 2005

In reading Matthew 6, I noticed Jesus’ commentary on three “spiritual disciplines” that were apparently in current practice (though not necessarily well): giving, praying, and fasting. It seems to me that consumerism is the number one spiritual issue with the vast majority of the American church, as well as the American culture. While Jesus said to “Go and make disciples of all nations,” the American culture says to “Go and make consumers of all nations.” Who’s doing a better job at their commission, the church or the culture?

There are two levels to explore, the disciplines themselves and the spirit in which we practice them. The disciplines that Jesus highlights in his commentary (plunked in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount) address our modern consumerism. Give: Rather than consume resources, share with others. Pray: Rather than consume religion and spirituality, submit oneself to God. Fast: Rather than consume according to our demanding appetites, rely on God’s power and grace to master ungodly and unbalanced appetites. Further, the spirit with which we are to practice our acts of devotion to God is one of humility. Who is our audience? This is the aspect of our devotion that elevates the issue of consumerism. To use our acts of devotion to God as a means to consume approval and admiration from others is the most dastardly brand of consumption of all.

Perhaps this is why Jesus followed his commentary on the proper practice of spiritual devotion with a teaching about our treasures: “but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:20-21).

Which commission is revealed to be more privileged in my practice: Jesus’ Great Commission or American culture’s commission? The difference may lie in my giving, praying and fasting.

Published by Guy M Williams

Christian | Husband, Father | Pastor | 8th-Gen Texan | Texas A&M ‘96 | Asbury Seminary ‘01 | Enjoy family, reading, running, golf, college football

One thought on “prayer posts: "jesus’ spiritual disciplines & the ethics of consumerism"

  1. gmw,

    You have written about the importance of Fasting, Prayer and Giving in your post. Consumerism is the opposite of all these. It takes us away from Peace, Happiness, Faith and Spirituality.

    In this context I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Consumerism and Industrialization on our Minds and Environment. Please read.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

    Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

    Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

    A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

    A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

    To read the complete article please follow any of these links :





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