A Jagged Contention: God the Commodity

As Marx said of a market-driven culture, “All that is solid melts into the air.” God, too, becomes a commodity—a product or therapy that we can buy and use for our personal well-being. Exemplifying the moralistic and therapeutic approach to religion, [Joel Osteen’s] message is also a good example of the inability of Boomers to mourn in the face of God’s judgment or dance under the liberating news of God’s saving mercy. In other words, all gravity is lost—both the gravity of our problem and of God’s amazing grace. According to this message, we are not helpless sinners—the ungodly—who need a one-sided divine rescue. (Americans, but especially we Boomers, don’t take bad news well.) Rather, we are good people who just need a little instruction and motivation.

– Michael Horton, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church. Pgs. 70-71


Without delving too much into Osteen or Boomer-bashing, what do you think gives rise to the need to turn God into a commodity? What steps can churches and pastors take to proclaim God in all His “gravity?”

Share your thoughts in the comments below


2 thoughts on “A Jagged Contention: God the Commodity

  1. “what do you think gives rise to the need to turn God into a commodity?” This smells very much like our bent towards idolatry.


  2. I like the phrasing of Aidan Kavanaugh in “On Liturgical Theology” He is critical on our tendency of commoditization of God. He states that we have taken the lion of Judah and turned Him into a house cat. Modern worship is “45 minutes and a nice moral talk, some crackers, and a sip of wine.” If I remember correctly, he calls it a small snack too.

    I think that a starting point, or antidote, might be NT Wright’s (or Hauerwas’) disruptive Christianity. A movement back towards the active counterculturailsm of Christianity, as opposed to the passive (i.e. primarily moral) disruptivness that tended to be focused upon starting in the 1950’s (against the dirty heathen atheist-socialists?)


    (that last parenthetical is meant to be read sarcastically BTW)


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