The RLT Cinema player is located in the widget sidebar to the right. Simply scroll down and click the top left video, which is the feature of today’s post.
Today’s RLT feature is a music video produced by Toyota for its Sienna mini-van. It’s pure advertising genius. Mini-van families get a bad rap–we’ve sold out to Mommy-n-Daddyville, where you’re no longer drive a cool vehicle because you need a more practical vehicle to lug your kids around. This video spins it, calling the Toyota Sienna a “Swagger Wagon.” Being the owner of a mini-van, I’m down.
This, like all other advertising, seeks to strike a nerve in a targeted consumer: the “Wow, I really need that,” nerve. Ad execs make their Benjamins by hitting that nerve and getting us to consume more and more stuff. In light of Jesus, consumerism is (in my humble opinion) the greatest idol of American Christians. We value safety, comfort, and security. Somehow, we’ve bought into the idea that things and money equate with safety, comfort, and security. The problem, however, is this: getting that “thing” is never enough. We always want something else.
Consumerism has spilled over into the church. Many non-Christians are turned off by church because of the “fashion show” that tends to take place on Sunday mornings. I’ve driven into church parking lots that look like used SUV lots–and the people that drive them are in their ’60’s with no children to haul around. On top of that, the church has become a provider of religious and spiritual goods and services–and the church that offers the best often attracts the biggest crowd. If what your church offers isn’t to your taste, just jump ship and go to another church.
Long story short, consumerism stands opposed to the biblical mandate of finding sufficiency in Christ over what the world has to offer us. There’s a huge characteristic that runs through Jesus’ example and teaching, as well as that of the early church: what God allows us to have is to be used, not just for ourselves, but for the betterment of others. In a word: generosity.
How has consumerism affected your life and your faith?