Justice Conference: Consumerism

I’m writing from the Justice Conference in Portland. If you’d like to follow along with the rest of our team, please visit the KHCJustice2012 Blog.

The third word of the conference is consumerism.

It is the real threat to justice. Allow me to explain.

We live in a culture marked by a fierce commitment to convenience and comfort. Our lives have  dominated by our insatiable appetite for more. Stimulation. Medication. Emancipation. Without even knowing it, many of us have become slaves to more.

More of everything.Gadgets. (I’m writing on one.) Goods. Gods. These begin to be stuffed into the compartments of our hearts and minds that is reserved for the One True God. When God is crowded out of those places, the Holy Spirit is evicted.

Why is that significant? Because He is the center of our nervous system. He makes us aware of injustice. He is the One who opens our eyes to see the hypocrisy of our lives. He is the One who opens our ears to the cries of the poor and the fatherless. He is the One who softens our heart to allow us to have it broken by the things that break the heart of God.

Consumerism, in short, has replaced the role of the Comforter. Consumerism has robbed us being the active presence of God’s righteousness and justice in the world, and we have been easy prey. Far too compliant. Rather than being used by the Holy Spirit of God to liberate the captives, we have become captivated  by the very things we were set free from. The World.

The seed sown among the thorns was choked out by the cares of the world, and it proved to be unfruitful.

I don’t have any answers to boast of. I am wrestling with my own love of the world. But I know this: I am most alive when I can hear the Holy Spirit, and when He uses me to set the captive free. When I know the Truth, and am in vital relationship with Him, I am free. I am engaged. I am useful to my Master, rather than being enslaved to the passing cares of the world.