Being Consumed (E–pub READ) Ý William T. Cavanaugh


Becoming Rich The Wealth Building Secrets of the World's Master Investors Buffett Icahn Soros The World of the Troubadours: Medieval Occitan Society, c.1100-c.1300 Older but Better, but Older Les enqutes de l'inspecteur Bayard, Tome 15 : L'inspecteur crve l'cran
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Is actually of a Christ against culture one of personal and communal economic alternatives to the system For a somewhat different take one might read this alongside Just Capitalism review forthcoming by Brent Waters which offers a defense of economic globalization and capitalism while being aware of its shortcomings It seems to me that Waters addresses what it is to be in the world Cavanaugh what it means to be not of it cf John 1714 16 Since both seem to be the call of a disciple this side "Of Eternity Then Both Of "eternity then both of voices may have important words for us Cavanaugh argues That Globalism Is A Counterfeit globalism is a counterfeit the church Consumerism is the worldview that drives the structures of globalism and it is a direct challenge to the Christian faith Cavanaugh writesConsumer culture is one of the most powerful systems of formation in the contemporary world arguably powerful than Christianity While a Christian may spend an hour per week in church she may spend twenty five hours per week watching television to say nothing of the hours spent on the Internet listening to the radio shopping looking at junk mail and other advertisements Nearly everywhere we lay our eyes gas pump handles T shirts public restroom walls bank receipts church bulletins sports uniforms and so on we are confronted by advertisingSuch a powerful formative system is not morally neutral it trains us to see the world in certain ways As all the great faiths of the world have attested how we relate to the material world is a spiritual discipline As one corporate manager frankly put it Corporate branding is really about worldwide beliefs management 47 48Consumerism seeks to exploit our restlessness while Christianity seeks to cure our restlessness St Augustine Cavanaugh s primary discussion partner and guide once confessed Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee Thus the worldview of consumerism and its uasi church of globalism with its sacraments of technology are idols meant to replace Christ his universal church and the sacraments of bread and wine Cavanaugh shows that as we consume we become detached from the things we consume Because consumerism is based on desire for desire instead of the object that is desired we constantly throw away what we consume as we move on to our next purchase But in the Eucharist the Lord s Suppercommunion we become consumed by what we consume Instead of detachment we experience greater attachment to Christ and thus satisfaction in Him Cavanaugh points out that in consumerism possession kills desire but in the Eucharist possession transforms and satisfies desire This is because God made us for himself We were created to know God and enjoy him forever Westminster Confession of Fatih but we worship and serve the creation instead of the Creator Romans 1 Cavanaugh expertly diagnoses the problem but he also gives solutions at least on the individual and local level Cavanaugh is not as ascetic who is trying us feel guilty about consuming materials He wants to reform our view of what we consume Every created object contains traces of the Creator When we use created things we should be enjoying the Creator Created objects don t satisfy us when they are treated as an end in themselves The satisfy us when we use them to point us to their source in God Thus the things of earth don t go strangely dim as the misguided hymn says but they grow as one of my friends likes to say strangely alive Cavanaugh brings in Hans Urs von Balthasar for a philosophical discussion of how we see the universal and the particular united in Christ In globalization we see only particulars unrelated to anything universal or as mere interchangeable stand ins for the universal as in the liberal idea that all religions lead to God so it doesn t matter which one Thus particulars are dispensable But in the incarnation of Christ we see the universal Son united with the finite Jesus By becoming man God makes room for every particular Every material object just like Christ s humanity can be set apart for God s purpose God created us to create under him Thus we should consume what we produce and produce what we consume Cavanaugh realizes that we can t produce everything we consume so he says we should consume locally and get to know our producers in order to make God glorifying choices We don t realize that our clothes coffee and other consumables are produced by poor people in third world countries who are being exploited by businesses feeding our consumption Do we know how our God given cows are being treated Cavanaugh does He buys his beef from a local farmer who feeds his herds healthy naturally produced food instead of drugs meant only to bulk them up The cows are clean and not penned up in their own muck Does the meat cost Definitely but a little less beef goes much farther in terms of satisfaction Adam Smith could not have been wrong when he said that the market provides all the knowledge necessary for the consumer to make rational choices for the common good Cavanaugh argues that Adam Smith s and Milton Friedman s definition of freedom as the absence of coercion actually leads to a coercive capitalism He argues for a return to Augustine s definition of freedom as the ability not just to choose but to choose the Carcity arguing that we should not just accept these as givens but should instead change the terms of the debateAmong other things Cavanaugh discusses how God in the Eucharist forms us to consume and be consumed rightly Examining pathologies of desire in contempo. ,
Hovered between 4 and 5 stars because of its brevity but I went and gave it the edge after the phenomenal chapter on how Christ embodies the problem of the one and the many in a way that satisfies and reconstructs economy and the forces that drive economy I would read a book 10x as long on the subject but this is a fantastic introduction to how Christian theology adresses economics the phenomena of globalism human desire and proliferation of choice and wealth disparities Only problem is I wish the examples of how Christians are addressing this stuff was fleshed out a bit Probably slated for a re read soon Consumption read 5 just deleted a bunch of stuff I wrote about the first half of this book bc it was critical and uninteresting than I wanted s fine I m book bc it was critical and uninteresting than I wanted it s I m not the audience I think in the second half he makes the case that Jesus solves the problem of the particular and the universal which is the lens Cavanaugh used to think about globalization and the Eucharist is part of this I feel like I need to revisit this imo this is the strongestmost interesting part of the book but I am always so biased to the particular local and had some issues with how WC talks about universalsThis made me want a book that was focused on case studies in Christian economic endeavors like farm shares and fair trade networks and several other examples WC incorporates I m sure they re out there and part of what is in Hard to know how to review this chapters 1 2 and 4 were great and well written Chapter 3 may have been important too but felt like the kind of academic essay I wrote in graduate school cleaving so close to a specific thinker so as to never get to saying what one is trying to sayThe book did help me think better about markets vs communion Augustine s uti frui distinction and how being united in the body of Christ makes a difference for how we think about our giving This book shifted my paradigm on Christianity in the sphere of economics Summary An extended essay in theological reflection from a Catholic perspective on the economic realities of the free market consumer culture globalization and scarcityThere is something than vaguely disturbing in the word consumer as it is applied to human beings It suggests an idea of I shop therefore I am and calls up reminders of the biblical warning that we risk our souls when we define our lives by the abundance of our possessionsIn a mere one hundred pages William Cavanaugh explores four aspects of our economic activity and how Catholic theological resources might richly inform our lives in these areas He explores the free market our consumer culture the phenomenon of globalization and that of scarcity Each of his four chapters explores one of these issues under a pair of opposing terms1 Freedom and unfreedom Moving beyond classic definitions of the free market he considers the uestion of the end or telos of transactions as crucial in defining freedom drawing upon Augustine and the idea of human flourishing as critical in defining whether a transaction is truly free2 Detachment and attachment Here he explores the relation of the consumer and producer and how we are often detached from the product we are consuming The Eucharist calls us into deeper attachment as it both consumed and consumes us in union with Christ3 Global and the local considers the phenomenon of globalization and the false ideal of the many and the one that loses the individual in the global market He draws upon the Triune God and the incarnation of Christ as God and man as well as the Catholic Church in properly modeling the life of the many and the one4 Scarcity and abundance discusses the basic reality of many economic transactions that assume scarcity and that some gain at the loss of others Much of this has to do with the hunger of human beings who gain and et want Once again Cavanaugh appeals to the Eucharist and the offer of abundant life found in Christ that bids us into a culture of communion with the poorThis is not a book on economic policy for the nations He describes his book as a contribution to a kind of theological microeconomics While at points he cites examples of the ineuities that result from free market economics rather than to attack or attempt to change the structures he commends personal and communal practices for Christians from purchasing fair trade products to Community Supported Agriculture and other efforts that connect buyers and sellers directly and the Economy of Communion Project where businesses dedicate one third of profits to direct aid to the poor a third to educational projects and a third for business developmentThe strength of this book is that in uite a concise way Cavanaugh introduces those from outside that Catholic tradition to the rich body of theological resources from which one may draw in economic thinking However the book does seem to be short both on application and some of the resources like a bibliography or for further reading other than the works cited in the text The one merit is that most of the concrete applications come out of the author s own experiences or other existing programs rather than untested proposalsCavanaugh does not address how Christians might engage the larger issues of globalization and capitalist economics and one senses his approach. Should Christians be for or against the free market For or against globalization How are we to live in a world of scarcity William Cavanaugh uses Christian resources to incisively address basic economic matters the free market consumer culture globalization and

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Being Consumed