Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mere Consumers?

“Have pity on us for the look of things,

When blank denial stares us in the face.

Although the serpent mask have lied before

It fascinates the bird.”  George MacDonald

The obstinate illusion before us each day is that which shields an honest view of ourselves.  We create masks, those images we want people to see and quietly sweep the ugly stuff under the rug.  Our addictions remain, our justifications all the same...tomorrow we will conquer the clutter in our lives ...tomorrow.   

Fr. Andrew delivered a powerful sermon on Sunday reminding us that our nation sees society as mere consumers, but what does that really say about us as human beings?  Do we live in a disposable world where every material item is easily replaced?  Are we so absorbed by instant gratification that we’re missing what’s real...what’s pure?

From his sermon:

“What are the fruits of this endless appetite for something else to eat, something else to consume, something new and interesting? For one thing, we are often bored. We spend so much of our time voraciously consuming the latest bit of entertainment, gossip, information, politics, and possessions that when we encounter things like beauty, permanence, or—dare I say it?—eternity, our response is “I’m bored.” As consumers, our attention spans get more and more childish.

Our appetite as consumers is such that we don’t just use up entertainment and information, but we also use up people. We see other people primarily in terms of what they can provide us rather than for who they are and the communion we can have with them. This corrupts not only friendships, but also marriages and families. “

Fr. Andrew has posted his full sermon, "Consumption and the Dignity of Man", here.

Praise God for illuminating our darkened hearts and minds, praise the Father of Lights for granting us grace to cast off the mask!

*Painting is by John William Waterhouse, "The Crystal Ball"


Barbara Martin said...

As I have given up the need or desire to watch television (now ten years), I do not feel that old impulsive behaviour where I had to go out and buy whatever it was I saw the TV. For my entertainment I have turned to reading, writing and meditation. God and his tireless angels provide excellent ideas on furthering one's soul growth.

Fr. Andrew said...

You know, I've been meaning to get into George MacDonald but just haven't gotten around to it. Any first recommendations?

amy said...

Fr. Andrew, I've been quoting MacDonald for years but have never read any of his volumes. C.S. Lewis was a great fan of his as evidenced in his preface of the little book, "George MacDonald: An Anthology 365 Readings"

Lewis wrote:

"I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself"

and also this, from the 17 page preface of the above mentioned book:

"What he [MacDonald] does best is fantasy --fantasy that hovers between the allegorical and the mythopoeic. And this, in my opinion, he does better than any man."

An interesting note is that MacDonald's family were Calvinists. And yet, he bore witness to his emancipation from such rigid theology in his many works without trace of bitterness.

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