We have turned God into just another consumer product.
Instead of providing an alternative to consumerism, the church has too often baptized it in religious language and resold it to the masses under a pious guise.
Churches become malls (sometimes in form as well as function, replete with stores full of religious trinkets that allow us to reinforce our religious identity through our purchases).
Clergy become salespeople endlessly pushing religion as a product in an effort to grow their congregations and their bottom line.
Leadership books teach pastors the latest tactics from the corporate world.
And the Gospel is reduced to a individualistic transaction where I have a need and getting Jesus/speaking in tongues/daily quiet time will fulfill whatever felt needs their market research has told them I have.
Ultimately, we end up turning God into an idol.
We make a false image of God, one that fits comfortably with our culture’s deeper ideologies.
That the God of Abraham, Jeremiah, and Jesus does not in fact comfortably fit with our attempts to tame Him and use the divine to legitimate our consumerism (or militant nationalism) should be obvious enough as we read the text of Scripture. But challenging the cultural liturgy, especially when it serves us so well, simply will not do. So we plug our ears, raise our voices, and drown out the discordant notes.
How we drown out the contradiction will be the subject of the last few posts in this series – as we turn from war and consumerism to a culture (and church) that numbs itself with its addiction to entertainment.