Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The power of profligacy

As Dan Edelen considers the practice of profligacy, could he really speaking to Christians in the United States?

Some Christians believe this world is not their home. They won’t be understood by the rest of the world, nor by some other people who say they believe in Jesus. They’ve said no to many of the things the world offers and that’s an exceedingly hard thing to do.

. . . it’s one thing to say you believe something. It’s another thing altogether to believe something so much that your life looks radically different from the rest of the crowd. The crowd says so many things and believes so many things, doesn’t it? But who is willing to die to the voice of majority and give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose? In a way then, the true profligate may be the one who appears to have every thing deemed good by the world’s standard, but will one day wind up losing it all in tears and flames. He has gained the world, but lost his soul.

After reading Dan's post, I have to wonder: are there actually Christians who spend $500 for a cell phone?


Blogger dle said...


This subject haunts me quite a bit, even more when I start talking with other Christians who think nothing of buying outrageously expensive items while the rest of the world eeks by.

Do we have to always go for the creme de la creme. I bought nice TV in 1996 that cost $325. Now, even with economies of scale tossed in, it seems you can't get a decent TV that will work with all the FCC mandates for less than $750. Considering all the advances in large scale integrated circuits, you can practically create the entire guts of a TV on one chip. Yet people bypass the less expensive TVs to buy these $1,500+ monsters--and that's the norm. You'd have been borderline insane in 1996 to buy a $1000 TV, but people shell out $2500 and don't even think twice.

Even the cheapest cell phone plans run $600+ a year. Do we need cell phones? I lived most my life without one. Why do I need one now? Yet we keep buying without asking why. Worse, we keep on buying even when our neighbor is in need.

Meanwhile, the middle class continues to spiral down even as it tries to keep up with the Joneses. It bothers me that almost no one speaks of this in the American Church.

Thanks for the link.

6:14 PM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

It bothers me too, Dan. As a preacher, I've found the problem is so huge, pervasive, and therefore invisible, that when I preach about it, either faces glaze over or (if I address the problem specifically and bluntly) members push back hard. We need to keep talking about it, though, because consumerism is probably the biggest idolatry of the North American church. Thanks for the article.

7:32 AM, June 28, 2007  

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