Skeptical Of Our Genoristy, Always The Cynic

(This will be a brief confession/rant, not in hopes that you’ll join my cynicism but that you’ll instead prove it wrong)

I can’t help but be a little skeptical of the popularity of Advent Conspiracy this year. I’m in support of the type of action they are encouraging people to take, but I still find myself questioning the motives.  It would seem that when times are tough, wallets are slim and the economy is in a recession, we all have personal reasons, as well as altruistic ones, to avoid consumerism this season. It’s a lot easier for me to say “We decided to curb our consumerism and give of our time to others instead this season” rather then “money’s tight and I can’t afford to buy presents this year so I’m looking for a cheaper alternative that will make me feel good.”

The truth is it’s also a time that a lot of people are hurting and in need, so I have to admit its a great time for folks to be making some commitments to service and giving of their time and energy to those in unfortunate circumstances.

Maybe it’s just that I know myself too well, and a tendency to paint every action and decision with some self-sacrificial altruistic motive.  I just hope I’m wrong about other people. Whether it’s their experience in giving this year, or the impect of being squeezed by recession, or some other factor, my prayer is that we as a society, and as a church, continue in putting others before ourselves even when our wallets are full.

7 thoughts on “Skeptical Of Our Genoristy, Always The Cynic”

  1. Good post man. I have found that I am really having a hard time getting in the “Christmas Spirit” this year. Maybe I’m missing all that dopamine that my brain releases while shopping, or maybe it’s the overwhelming feeling of helplessness I feel when I think of all the people that are hurting and in need during this season of shop to you drop.

    I think your skepticism is right on though, it is way easier to say we’re curbing our consumerism than to say we’re looking for a cheaper alternative. But think about this: Christmas is supposed to be a celebration, and celebrations are definitely part of Kingdom living!

    Greg Boyd writes:

    Everything Jesus did — including his celebrating — manifests the Kingdom. What Jesus’ superfluous miracle, frequent partying and acceptance of expensive worship reveal is that life under the reign of God isn’t just about ministry and work: it includes celebrating. Yes we’re to live self-sacrificial, radically generous lives. But life as God intended it includes celebrating weddings, drinking wine, going to parties and engaging in extravagant worship. These aren’t “breaks” from Kingdom living: they’re important aspects of Kingdom living!

    So maybe we should focus less on gift giving and more on celebrating? Yeah sounds good to me.

  2. Here’s my new “slogan”. I saw it on adbusters and loved it. Great holiday reminder that will carry on well into the upcoming year.

    “Buy less. Live more.”

  3. It is always easy to be skeptical of a big media push (and it’s probably healthy too), but people need a place to start. They need a point of reference to help them regain focus and exit the mainstream of self-centered culture. I think advent conspiracy could be that for some people, especially since they are featuring the clean water effort as a surrogate for shopping.

    At least that’s what I think. Nice place you’ve got here, I’ll have to check it out in greater depth.

  4. Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement everyone! I do think I just need to take a chill pill and encourage others where ever they are at. My pessimism gets the better of me sometimes.

    Brent, glad you could join us! Stick around and continue in the conversation…

  5. I think it is a great idea, but doesn’t always get worked out in principle. We are traveling well over 2,000 miles this holiday season to celebrate Christmas with our families and to see friends. I would think that should be good enough for people but my wife disagrees and I think most of my family would be upset if they didn’t get something.

    A few years back I bought items from the World Vision gift catalog. I actually put some thought into it – picking a soccer ball “for” my brother, musical instruments “for” my sister, etc – but it still didn’t go over very well. So I don’t think buying them nothing would go over any better!

    btw I like the new layout and your blog gets blocked by my firewall at work as “personal relationships”

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