In our good concern for what and how we consume, how do Christians keep from being consumed by ethical consumerism?
We hope your Christmas was delightful and Christ-honoring. I’m guessing the holiday did not pass without you feeling its cost, too. Reports say American adults spent over $900 on Christmas gifts, each, a total of over $1 trillion shelled out on electronics, video games, clothes, books, jewelry, music, toys, and — one of the most beloved gifts of all — gift cards. Wallets now thick with gift cards, how do we live contentedly in this overabundant consumer culture? The question is not only on the minds of Americans. In fact, today’s question arrives from South Wales, from a podcast listener named Lauren.
“Hello Pastor John! Thank you for your ministry! My question is regarding ethical consumerism. As a Christian I want to live a non-exploitative, Christ-honoring life. As part of that I’ve recently been making efforts to make lifestyle decisions which are more ethical, such as switching to meat which does not arise from inhumane or cruel treatment and buying clothes from sources where workers have received fair treatment. However, having started down this path, I see that it could become all-consuming: using reusable containers, carrying my own takeaway cup everywhere, etc. And I also anticipate that it would have a fairly negligible impact as I’m just one person. But how do we navigate a life where consumable goods are so abundant?”