The Chaos of Consumer Culture

by Guy Rodgers, President and CEO

Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

This is one of my favorite verses of Scripture and has been for many years. It speaks to three extremely important aspects of the Christian walk that, unfortunately, do not receive the attention nor the practice they merit.

First, the imagery of “do not be conformed to the pattern of this world” is one of “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.” When my children were growing up I told them that if they wanted to be like the world, all they had to do was float with its current. No effort would be necessary.

But if they wanted to truly walk with Christ, they would have to swim against the current.

Second, to avoid being conformed to the world not only requires conscious effort, it requires transformation from the inside out, which happens as we daily surrender ourselves to God.

And third, the transformation it requires is a constantly renewed mind which comes through committed prayer, study of the Word, study of great Christian works, and fellowship with other like-minded believers.

As I survey the Christian and cultural landscape in America, it’s clear that the “world” is transforming the “church” much more than the “church” is transforming “the world.” This is happening in countless ways. Through what I call the sexualization of our culture. Through the cult of celebrity.

And it’s happening through the descent of our culture into the chaos of unbridled consumerism.

Everything around us, from social media to television, caters to and encourages this consumerism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with buying and selling; indeed, commerce informed by biblical ethics is an essential component of quality culture.

The problem today is that consumer culture has been constructed on the idol of self. “What’s in it for me?” is its motto. And it has deeply infected the body of Christ, squeezing us into its mold.

When I hear someone ask, “What’s the benefit of being in Pinnacle Forum?” I can’t help but wonder, is this consumerism at work? Yes, there are benefits of being in Pinnacle Forum. And who among us would deny that there are enormous benefits from being a Christian, going to church and studying the Bible?

But these are the consequences of a life lived differently from the me-centered, self-involved, self-absorbed life of the unbelieving world.

Let’s recall what Jesus said was required of anyone who sought to follow Him: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” This is the very antithesis of consumerism, and it was understood by Jesus’ disciples to be so central to life in Christ that three of the four Gospel writers record it!

The Pinnacle Forum motto is “Transforming Leaders to Transform Culture.” Let’s seek to transform culture by living and modeling the antithesis of the consumerism that is ravaging our culture.

We can begin right here in Pinnacle Forum with a perspective and actions that clearly communicate this is not about what I “get” from Pinnacle Forum, but what I “give” to it.

Let’s create a counter-cultural current that reveals and demonstrates the life of Jesus, who did not come to be served but to serve.

Let’s create a national community of communities, of Pinnacle Forum Chapters and Forums, populated by Partners who seek not what they can get from Pinnacle Forum but what they can give to it. Who define the “value-added proposition” of Pinnacle Forum as the opportunity to live out in community with other leaders the servant-leadership Jesus modeled.

This is how the early church transformed the culture around it. And what’s wonderful about it is that when we do this, we do benefit. Immensely.

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