Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy? - A Morgan Spurlock Film

Morgan Spurlock is the filmmaker who brought us Super-Size Me, an excellent movie. If you haven't seen Super-Size Me, you need to stop what you are doing right now and go watch that movie. And while your at it, you might as well watch Fast Food Nation too.

Spurlock's new film, What Would Jesus Buy comes out this week, just in time for the Christmas Holiday Shopping Season. In the film, Spurlock follows a preacher/comic, Reverend Billy, who preaches against the consumerism and materialism that has run rampant in our culture. On a side note, I noticed that some retailers were opening as early as 4 am on Black Friday this year. Is there a point at which the corporations will push too far and force the population to realize that they are being corrupted and bankrupted?

My wife and I have decided that 2007 is the year that we will begin to put the brakes on the "Christmas Consumer/Materialist Shopping Season." We've decided that we really enjoy opening presents, so we plan to continue to wrap empty boxes and put them under the tree because they look pretty and we'll still have presents, albeit empty ones, to open on Christmas morning.
This isn't a classic case of uptight Christians boycotting certain companies because they don't hold to their personal values. This is a case of people being fed up with what they are being fed: in this case - rampant consumerism and materialism that peaks each year during Christmas.
What are your thoughts on:
  • the Christmas Shopping Season
  • incurring a massive amount of debt each December
  • stores opening at 4 am for Black Friday
  • counter-cultural alternatives to this consumeristic dilemma
  • getting stuff for ourselves in the guise of "buying gifts for each other"


michelle said...

this is the reason i have been depressed for years at Christmas time... knowing that as a single mom, i don't have the kind of money it takes to buy buy buy and spoil my boys the way they have been brainwashed into wanting to be spoiled! i am so thankful this year that i am not feeling the pressure of the consumer Christmas because my boys are finally old enough to understand that it isn't about the stuff... i long for a time that has long since passed away... i often think about the folks who lived 2 hundred years ago, who knew what Christmas was really about and how much simpler and peaceful life was... sigh... anyway, since being saved, my holiday seasons have been getting progressively better each year and i thank and praise God for that!

Thom said...

The use of the Disney logo and Character are too reminiscient of the Christian boycotts of the 90's.

I think that Jesus would buy something at a thrift store, if he had any money.

actionsub said...

I know I personally am SO looking forward to showing up for work before dawn on Friday morning so we can open up the ol' local Christian bookstore at SIX A.M.!!!

OK. Sarcasm over. However, I still have to show up for work so we can open up four hours early.

I'm with Michelle on this one. By the second Sunday of Advent, I get Scrooge's motivation...

Natty Bummpo said...

my mall is opening at 1AM! I think this i sthe craziest thing ever. I have to wake my butt up at 4am so i can get to the mall by at least 6 to find parking for work at 7. Black Friday is ridiculous. I really wish that people would take advantage over shopping over the internet during the Holdiays. I know i do. If it wasn't for the fact that i work in the amll i would not go to the mall between november -february.

michelle said...

the only way to go to the mall at this time of year is to walk there or ride a bike or take the bus... and you cannot be in a hurry at all... it is quite ridiculous...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gregory Loselle said...

You know, I don't think it's just Christmas.

Think of how little my grandparents--and yours, presumably--found necessary to get along with, and then look at what's happening around us: two-income couples working overtime--in order to buy what? What is so very necessary, after all?

Making ends meet is one thing, but think of how much of our economy revolves around entertainment--and how much time we spend entertaining ourselves alone, without genuine social contact?

We all have too much stuff: too much junk, too much decoration, too much novelty with too little substance. (We also have an entire industry devoted to finding outlets for our cast-off stuff: eBay, anyone?) And the pace of our lives accelerates so that we can keep buying.

We treat shopping as entertainment--why? And we view buying things, perversely, as some sort of self-expression or self-fulfillment.

What we need is an economy that closes down on Sundays, at 8 PM on weekdays, and leaves us all with the time and serenity to actually enjoy the things we have. We do NOT need 24/7 "convenience." It's choking us.

Christmas isn't the issue here--it's capitalism. That's what I think.

Tegan said...

I love that you and your wife wrap boxes to put under the tree! I have done that in previous years past (when I could afford a tree) b/c I couldn't afford to put anything under it. I really enjoy giving gifts to people, but I prefer to give something that I have made, usually bread or something that they can use (like socks or a small Christmas ornament). Plus getting together with friends to cook and bake brings such wonderful fellowship in the Lord! :) And isn't celebrating Jesus' birth what the season is all about?

Mayoliv said...

Great Post.... It drives me crazy that people are so hungry to shop for things that they don't need. I know many of these people personally and it blows my mind! How they can shop every free minute that they have and for what?! More knick-knacks that they can place on the mantle. I like to buy things like we all do. But I think there is a fine line between shopping for things you would like or need
(In moderation) and buying bags and bags of things just because a holiday or media oulet says you should....


Nathan said...

I wonder if the amount of rentals of storage units goes up in the month of January to make room for all of the stuff we don't need or even want?

My issue this year is that I am so over Secret Santa. I think I have to buy 4 gifts for this type of gift exchange at different events. In the land of church planting this is big bucks and for what? Maybe just maybe I will be able to steal the one good gift from some unsuspecting old lady because she doesn't understand the cut throat way the "exchange" is played.

After reading this post I am making an executive decision for our church. For our Christmas party we are going to wrap up checks to donate to a local charity. So how's that for a Christian more Secret Santa?

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