Monday, February 18, 2008

Consuming Jesus

Consuming Jesus: Beyone Race and Class Divisions In a Consumer Church by Paul Louis Metzger is the latest book that I finished. I read this book in one day, Saturday, while at my parents house. The book may be a little too scholarly and indepth to do that. It may be a book that needs to be read and chewed upon a little before proceeding.

There were a few paragraphs that really stood out to me and I will share them with you:

It seems to justify not bothering with breaking down racial barriers, since they would only distract us from "church growth". And so the most segregated racist instituition in America, the eveangelical church, racks up the numbers, declaring itself "successful" oblivious to the fact that the dismemberent of the body of Christ brodcast to the world every day a hypocrisy as blantant as Peter's at Antioch - a living denial of the truth of the Gospel. (page 9)

We often assign value today based on need and usefulness. In a consumer-oriented, free-market society, the value of something increases when the demand for it increases; thus the value is not inherent, but imposed. This is true of products but also with people: we often treat people as commodities, not as person in communion. Human value is based on usefulness and likeability. the same holds true for churches; churches provide religious products, and their value depends on how many people are attracted to the religious goods and services they provide.
(pg. 46)

If we fail to take Christ's cross work seriously and fail to suffer with those who suffer and give to those in need, especially believers, we trample the Son of God underfoot. (pg. 105)

Christian and churches should glory in what they have in common with one another and with the world in these ventures - more than preoccupying themselves with what seperates them. (pg. 159)

Those were some of the statements that stood out to me for various reasons. Now, if you picked up the copy of my book, you would see 100+ things underline and marked for me to remember. There are also stories and illustrations in the book that made me shake my head and question how there are so many arrogant Christians out there. To give you a final summary of the book, I will list the opening paragraph in the Afterword:

Consuming Jesus is a powerful book. But it s more than a book. It has the potential to serve as a catalyst for a movement whereby the evangelical community repents of its consumerist heart and practices and responds to God all-consuming love to tackle the pressing race and class problems in the church and broader culture today. It has been a long time coming.

I would recommend the book; however, I will say that at times it is a little deep and I think at times a little repetitive. But it is a book that needs to be written and a book that hopeful will help us push aside some of the consumeristic mindset; help us consume Jesus and for us to reconcile with one another no matter our race or class.


Anonymous said...

It is sitting on my desk right now ready to be picked up after I finish "Jesus Without Religion," today.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Let me know what you think of it after you read it. The next book that I will be starting (tomorrow) is going to be:

Life After Church: God's Call to Dillusioned Christians

Inkling said...

Hey, I just spent this morning waiting for my babysitting charge to wake up and reading a interesting book you might enjoy. (if you haven't already devoured it) It's called Jim and Casper Go To Church, or something like that anyway. It's about a Christian named Jim and an atheist named Casper. The two of them go around visiting some major churches (Erwin McManus', the slimy Joel Osteen's, Mars Hill, Willow, Saddleback, etc.), and then Jim listens to Casper's perspective and impressions. It's intriguing to say the least. Just thought you might be interested if it isn't already in your library.

Jeff Greathouse said...


Thanks for the recommendation. I have read reviews for the book and it is on my "watch list" but not my "must read" list. However, the more I hear and see about it; the closer it gets :)

Doorman-Priest said...

Powerful stuff, and so true.

You could argue the same over the whole denominational division. If you see denominations as positive expressions of Christian diversity, as I do, that is one thing. If your mindset is about "I'm right, you're wrong", that is another matter altogether.

Jeff Greathouse said...

DP, you are absolutely right.

And *shock* maybe not only other denominations but other faith groups.

We need to be positive.

Today, I went to my first interfaith meeting; I am looking forward to working with a very diverse group of people.