Turkey, Clams, a Salt Breeze, and Christianity’s Assault on Consumerism

For Thanksgiving this year we traveled to Portland, Maine where part of Julie’s family resides. We had a fantastic dinner and caught up with just about everyone on hand. I even had a few days respite from writing and decided to also include some time off from the blog.

On Friday we hit Portland’s old port section, which may be one of the nicest parts of a city you could ever find on the east coast. Beautiful brick buildings, plentiful restaurants and shops, and beautiful old streets. Whenever near the ocean I am drawn to steamed clams, and while in Portland we visited J’s Oyster Bar for 2 buckets of steamers.

We enjoyed the clams so much that we may end up doing it again next year.

While driving to and from Portland I had time to think about consumerism, the economy, money, and all the negative stuff related to the holidays. And moving beyond some of these problems, I was wondering what we can do to move beyond all of it.

With that in mind, I would like to think about the following: the significance of the incarnation (the main event surrounding Christmas), the redemptive presence of Christians, the role of Christians in advocacy, and the role of Christians as consumers in our economy.

The significance of the incarnation: The incarnation is at the heart of Eastern Christianity, but does not rise to the height of the cross and resurrection in the West. Could it be that a lack of attention to the incarnation and its implications will change how we live today? 

The redemptive presence of Christians: There is a redemptive flow to the Bible. The revelation of God changes, shifts, develops, and sharpens throughout scripture, and we should take note of the goal that scripture is moving toward under the complete rule of God. Are Christians supposed to take part in this redemptive movement of God? 

The role of Christians in advocacy: If Christians are supposed to be involved in God’s redemptive action, there are implications for Western Christians who enjoy prosperity and power. Apologies for our wealth will not help, but are there ways to use our prosperity and power to help those in need both locally and globally?

The role of Christians as consumers in our economy: Our global economy is built upon the working poor who live off the cheap labor of the poor who further require the cheapest labor of the desperately poor. The middle class on up to the ridiculously wealthy enjoy the benefits of the cheap labor from all three groups, and breaking out of this cycle is incredibly difficult. The higher up on the income bracket, the easier it is to break out of it. Even so, I think it is worth thinking about some simple ways we can each, within our own means, begin to work our way out of our destructive consumer cycle.