This evening I headed off to church, knowing that it was going to be the start of a new DVD based series. Kinda went in with almost no pre-conceptions, which was good. And it was the start of something pretty cool I reckon – the content was good, but I’ll get to that in a second. James used it as a chance to remark that sometimes church is just a consumer product – we sit there and listen, and don’t have much involvement usually. So this week was a chance to change that, and for us to watch some DVD clips, chat with the people we were sitting with, and then share some ideas with everyone.
And in a few weeks, a vision of mine will hopefully see reality, where we have “church” by still spending some time singing and stuff, but then sitting round some tables and listening to a talk of some description (if it’s going to be happening in a few weeks, it’ll presumably be DVD clips), and then spending time chatting – perhaps about the “sermon”, perhaps about your week, perhaps about other stuff that revolves around God, perhaps not. The whole idea was to have that post-church chatting time as a sort-of part of the service, to encourage that fellowship. The idea gained life in a kind of selfish way: I learn best by talking with others, and often really struggle to take away something from listening to a sermon for 30-40 minutes. But I would hope that others would be able to gain something from it too. And it will be very exciting to see a vision come to life.
As for this week and the content, it was all based around consumerism. It was a DVD series called The Trouble With Paris (and it has a website here). Excitedly, it was an Australian made and produced series! This first episode got us thinking about hyper-reality, and how we live in this false sense of reality. It also talked briefly about the emotion behind our purchase of products, and a bold statement that advertising has almost become an unspoken religion. Very true though.
There was absolutely nothing to bring it all back to God in this week’s series. A little annoying, I thought. But I am very keen to see this series through and be a part of it right through the 4 weeks.
I’m very aware of my consumerism. In reality, I have a lot of money, and I really like spending it. I know that I really have to keep myself in check about the reasons of why I buy things – the emotion behind it, or the appearance. And the reason I want to keep myself in check is that I have made the decision to make God #1 in my life, and I don’t want to let my consumerism take over – I don’t want to live my life for the things I buy, or the car I drive, or the house I own (no matter how awesome my house and street are!).
So I’m very much looking forward to being further challenged about my consumer life and living it as a follower of Jesus.