I just read about the latest form of oppression: Tivo Tyranny. It's the burden of having recorded too many TV shows, and now finding there's no way you're going to be able to watch them all.
Tivo has a feature that automatically records preselected shows week after week, or day after day, and that's created for some people a backlog that they'll never get through. The convenience of easily recording something now for viewing later has produced it's own overstuffed feeling.
It's just the latest example that, yes, we live in a "consumer culture." And whenever we consume, whether goods, products, or services, we're inclined to overindulge. And each new convenience, promising new kinds of freedom, can lead to its own form of bondage.
How can preachers effectively address people who are surrounded and saturated by their consumer culture?
Next week, this will be the topic as Leadership hosts a live interview at the National Pastors Convention in San Diego. And you can pose questions to the panelists, including:
John Ortberg, teaching pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and author of lots of books, including "The Life You've Always Wanted" (Zondervan).
Efrem Smith, pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, and author of "The Hip-Hop Church" (InterVarsity Press).
Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis, and author of "Preaching Re-Imagined" (Zondervan).
Will Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, and author of "Pastor: a reader for ordained ministry" (Abingdon).
Most people, upon hearing the phrase "Preaching in a Consumer Culture," think about sermons on money. That's certainly one area we'll include in the interview, but the spiritual issues at stake in a consumer culture go far beyond putting a percentage of your income into the offering plate.
What would YOU like to ask the panelists? Post a response with your questions, and we'll not only post them online, but some of them will find their way into the interview, and then, into the pages of Leadership, when we publish this interview in the Summer issue of the journal.
We hope to see you there, or stay tuned here as we'll be blogging from the convention.