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Consuming Jihad

The following Bill Moyers’ interview is with one of my favorite authors EVAH — Benjamin Barber of Jihad vs. McWorld fame. That’s one of the books from the huge grad school avalanche that has continued to needle me. In there, Barber argues that the singular unifying push of fundamentalism is at odds with the pseudo-plurality of capitalism. But in the end, Jihad divides more than it unifies, and McWorld limits choice more than it diversifies. Barber’s text is a terrific read no matter what — he’s one of those rare academics that can write for the mainstream — and he’s always got great cover art!

This latest discussion intrigues me. If you can get past the irony that he gets called a Scrooge at Christmas for telling people to stop consuming (!), the idea that risk has been socialized is new to me. I also appreciate that he’s not a Marxist that just wants revolution; he suggests real change within the system. Imagine that — a productive critic!

I’d like to chew on what he says about the Market in regards to what that means for the Church. It’s no surprise that American Evangelicalism is nothing more than a commercialized faith. That’s not my conclusion, and that’s not a new conclusion. Willow Creek is to your typical indy-fundy-Baptist church what Super Walmart is to a Mom-and-Pop True Value — both offering goods, both selling services, both operating within the same commercialized life. One just feels more “old school” than the other.

What happens when instead of making consumers of religion, the contemporary Church makes citizens? I’m not proposing an answer (yet), but I think that dances around the reason so many indy-fund-Baptist believers are leaving fundamentalism in droves. Yes, droves!

The whole thing also makes me reconsider all the support I’m hearing for Ron Paul.




[tags]Benjamin Barber, Bill Moyers, Consumerism, Ron Paul, Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism[/tags]