“The Nihilistic Eros of the Consumer Society …”

Michael Horton’s People and Place:  A Covenant Ecclesiology continues to intrigue and inspire me on almost every page.  I love his description of modern idolatry:

“[Idolatry] requires its gods to make themselves available, fully present, visible, which means capable of being possessed and, if need be, manipulated to produce whatever the individual’s or group’s felt needs are determined to be at any moment.

“The nihilistic eros of the consumer society, which seems to have drawn much of American Christianity into its wake, creates a desire that can never be satisfied.  Ads and show windows offer us a perpetual stream of icons promising to fulfill our ambitions to have the life that they represent:  a fully realized eschatology.  Handing our credit card to the salesperson can be a sacrament of this transaction between sign and signified.  Yet this anonymous space of endless consumption is the parody of the place of promise:  true shalom.  Consuming images, living on the surface of immanence, we refuse to be called out of ourselves by an external word that would truly unite us to God and our neighbor.  Silently and alone, we surf channels and Web sites, window-shopping for identities (p. 59).”


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