Consumer culture

“Since it is not the absolute
amount of material possessions that determines one’s position but rather what one has compared with what others have, it follows that economic inequality will always be promoted. The consumer culture always leads people to want more than they need because what the individual really desires is to enhance his or her status in relation to others. There is always a striving to have more than others because social status is partially defined by material possessions. The inequality and stratification of people along the lines of income and material possessions is bound to occur.”


Globalization and the Prosperity Gospel: the colonization of Africa’s soul.

This is a link to an interesting paper on the “Prosperity Gospel” in Africa, as a manifestation of globalization.
ST Kgatla – Asian J. Soc. Sci. Arts Human, 2013
Prof S T Kgatla
Department of Science of Religion and Missiology
University of Pretoria, Pretoria


“Modern Western Mission has often been a movement from the powerful to the powerless and vulnerable. Christian mission, for example, regarded all people as objects of God’s salvific
will and plan, a vision usually embedded in a sense of cultural superiority. Thus Christians undertook missionary journeys from the source to those claimed to be lost; and the missionaries were often accompanied by people who used similar approaches but were driven by political ideology, greed and other motives. In its wake, Christianity has left indelible marks of colonialism, Western civilization, trade, slavery and cultural domination. Now that
the former colonies of the Western countries (especially in Africa) have gained independence, the West’s methods to retain economic and cultural dominance have become
more sophisticated. Globalization has become a covert method of neo-colonialism whose objectives remain domination and taking advantage of the vulnerable, despite its apparently
lofty ideals. Globalization continues to lure poor countries into more misery and dependence on the power of Western countries with promises of “salvation” from their poverty – with
enslaving propaganda claiming that their eventual salvation lies in their total embrace of capitalism and Western culture. Missiology, as branch of Theology, cannot remain uninterested or neutral to the menace of globalization and its promises of utopia. It needs to take a critical stance, for the sake of integrity of the Christian Gospel and creation to all manifestations of globalization. These should be subjected to rigorous analysis and appraisal,
as this paper attempts to do. The paper examines the close connection between colonialist strategies and new methods of enslaving poor people undetected. The Americanisation of Third World countries, the creation of a Western hegemony through the media, consumerism, the prosperity doctrine and obesity patterns are investigated. The net effect of these trends in
globalization are scrutinized.”



young tree.png
A letter to Leah Schade at Patheos, in response to her post about the sacredness of trees.
Thank you for this lovely meditation on trees. You remind me to go to them for their wisdom – I don’t mean in any pantheist sense, but in the sense that in their presence it is possible to reflect on our lives, on what we value. At times, especially in the madness of the everyday, it’s difficult to believe there can be a God. And then I go to the trees, with their majestic beauty, their physical expression of the life force within them – sap, roots, the roughness or smoothness of bark, the tensile strength of branches, cascades of leaves. How they move in the wind, how they change through the seasons. In the presence of a tree, I sense God. A felled tree is always a sort of crucifixion, a young sapling a resurrection. I draw trees, because to draw them is to look intently at them, to see them as more than future lumber or objects for casual landscaping. The old, gnarled ones, the survivors, fascinate me the most. And those ragged trees in dismal cities: they soldier on, abused, cut with graffiti, plastic caught in their branches. I recently met a skilled bonsai grower who had saved a small sapling from a rubble-covered construction site: a tiny living thing had survived a bulldozer! He nurtured it back to health and even with it’s wounds it was by far his most beautiful tree. Trees show us who we are, and what we could be.