Guinness and God

Sunday night I'm speaking to a group on how to become a New Breed of Consumers. There's a point I want to make about our consumeristic hungers and about the relationship these hungers have with the draw of God. (Sorry if this is cryptic, but perhaps I'll say more later.)

Anyway, this commercial came to mind.


One human is no human

I had to write a paper on this statement a few years ago. Funny thing to think about, isn't it? I forgot about it until last month when I taught a series on community. And it's come up in my recent musings on the relationship between advertiser and consumer.

I don't want to lose anyone on a philosophical voyage, but consider this statement with regards to being image-bearers of God.

(Warning: thick quote ahead.) Theologian Richard Gula writes,

"The trinitarian vision sees that no one exists by oneself, but only in relationship to others. To be is to be in relationship. The individual and the community co-exist. Humanity and relatedness are proportional so that the deeper one’s participation in relationships is, the more human one becomes. Since community is necessary to grow in God’s image, the fundamental responsibility of being the image of God and for living in community is to give oneself away as completely as possible in imitation of God’s self-giving."

Preach it.

This self-giving idea is crucial to being neighbors. Advertisers and consumers - two important neighbor groups for me - often get this wrong, and the fallout is painful.

Perhaps this week you can think of one small way to be "more human" to your neighbor. If you get a minute, let me know how it turns out.

The Holy Trinity by Hendrik van Balen, I (1575-1632)
Oil on panel, 1620


Blog Action Day: Lights out!

Today is Blog Action Day and you can do something.

Like punch the lights out on greed-catering advertising and self-oriented consumerism. Oh, wait, the stock market is doing that.

Actually, the subject of Blog Action Day is poverty, and the point is to get folks to do whatever they can to address it.

I've spent a good portion of my life below the U.S. poverty line. I'm out now, which means I'm really rich compared to folks in underdeveloped places. Still, it was tough and continues to be at times.

What did I appreciate most in poverty? People helping. People treating my mom and sisters and me like decent human beings. People sharing.

The credit crisis is indicative of what we'll do when we have access to More. We'll take it. And now that we've taken - for a long time and without many warnings of the now-coming-to-realize consequences - it isn't just us who's paying for it. The poor suffer, too. Even more than they did before.

My own contribution toward reducing global and local poverty is in the preaching against that greed-catering advertising and self-oriented consumerism. Oh, to see a new breed of advertisers and a new breed of consumers who err toward creating their own economic crisis from encouraging simplicity and from giving too much!


SNL wisdom for consumers

This is one of my faves. I had a difficult time finding it so if you're looking for consumer advice that's now in the "I-told-you-so" category, you'll have to watch this priceless video here.


Is he REALLY that happy?

I'm interested to see how ads will reflect this volatile economic time. Will essential products step into the foreground? Probably. Will non-essential products beg? They already are with 0% financing and the like. Will companies smilingly promote non-essentials to suggest that all's well? Unfortunately.

Ad-makers, et al, I pray for you to keep your morals high and your consciences clean. You don't want to get through this and wish you'd lived it differently.


New Breed of Consumers

Been thinking about a new website. The funnest piece (in my opinion) would be a double blog representing the conversation between advertiser and consumer.

New Breed of Advertiser, meet New Breed of Consumer.

If you've kept up with this blog, you know what I think of advertisers. They're creative and smart and even necessary, but often unloving and irresponsible toward their audience. And speaking of their audience, plenty has been written about consumers, who could afford to be more simple, more generous, more environmental, less infatuated with Stuff, and so on.

So, what about a conversation between the two, focused on reconciliation and the future? New Breed of Advertisers would continue as is, but at the same site you could read about a New Breed of Consumers, too.

Just a brainstorm at this point. Any suggestions?


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