Exploring the Impact of Consumerism and the Role of Stewardship in the Church
This paper claims that Christianity, as practiced in the contemporary United States, fails to address the problem of consumption and that society desperately needs a Romans 12 movement. American Christians look similar to American non-Christians in almost every aspect of life. Others propose solutions to challenge the consumer culture. Organizations such as Crown Financial Concepts and Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Seminars encourage individuals to use their wealth and resources wisely. Some experts suggest science and technology have produced dramatic results in the past and will continue to aid humanity in the future. Others claim more consumption addresses the problem because it raises the standard of living. A few pessimists suggest it is too late and the damage to the earth is too great. Their response would be to do nothing and continue to live in the same manner.
I believe these solutions remain too narrow in their focus and have proven ineffectual. The effects of consumption are widespread and encompass every aspect of life in the United States. It is my contention that God has called Christians to live their lives very differently than most Christians in the contemporary United States are living, and the church must reclaim its prophetic voice in terms of stewardship. The thesis of this paper is that a stewardship lifestyle, rather than a consumerist lifestyle, can enable individuals to lead happier, healthier lives. Subsequent sections explore the conditions that brought culture to its crossroads and the impact of consumption on individuals, churches, society, and creation. This paper suggests ways in which individuals or congregations can begin to address consumerism, and the project will be a book that seeks to create broad-based awareness and discussion of the topic.