Living as antibodies in a consumer culture – a struggle
Last Sunday I tweeted an update that read, “Today we celebrate Pentecost – God decentralized and invites everyone to become agents of love and creative good.” A friend noted that he celebrates with me but challenged my use of consumer language. It got me thinking about the ways in which I am deeply imbedded in the consumer culture. Deeply. One of my favorite calls in the Bible comes from Romans 12 where Paul invites us to,
Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I feel drawn by the call to be in tune with a different rhythm. To be part of something that is characterized by what Kantongole calls “wild spaces” or what the South African David Bosch called, “operating silently and consistently as an antibody” or in another passage, “… a kind of antibody in society, in that it lives a life of radical discipleship as an “alternative community”.
But the reality is that I am stuck in so many ways. I have blind spots. It is within a community of diversity that these can come to light. A humorous example of our early adoption into this consumer narrative comes from my three year old son. A few weeks ago I asked him who created him. He answered Jesus. So far so good. When I asked him how Jesus did it Liam looked at me and said, “He bought me at the supermarket”.