“Apparently We Can’t Stop Eating, Shopping, or Consuming”

Brennan Manning has a way of hitting me where it hurts.

“The conversation of most middle-class Americans, we are told, revolves around consumption: what to buy, what was just bought, where to eat, what to eat, the price of the neighbor’s house, what’s on sale this week, our clothes or someone else’s, the best car on the market this year, where to spend a vacation. Apparently we can’t stop eating, shopping, or consuming. Success is measured not in terms of love, wisdom, and maturity but by the size of one’s pile of possessions.” (Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus)

But what if we would begin a new conversation? And what does a conversation of love, wisdom and maturity look like?

One thing of which I am certain: if we began a new conversation, one that didn’t revolve around eating or shopping or consuming, it would be the kind of thing that could not be ignored or overlooked. It would be as radical as loving your enemy, or helping your neighbor, or not seeking revenge.

That kind of a conversation would change people. That kind of a conversation would change us.

8 Replies to ““Apparently We Can’t Stop Eating, Shopping, or Consuming””

  1. The only thing is that much of Jesus’ conversations revolved around eating with His disciples and sinners and drunks and whores.
    Of course, before He did all of that, He spent 40 days without eating and only spent time with His Father. Maybe that is what we need to do. Spend as much time with the Father taking in the food He gives, so that the meals we share will be more meaningful.

  2. Yeah, I think I might take basic eating off that list. Fancy eating? That’s something else entirely. I’m part of a spontaneous group of about a dozen women who happened to meet IRL at a writers’ conference. Our conversation is not about consumption, it’s about struggle and victory, pain and joy, pondering and celebrating. Those are real food, those kinds of conversations. Thanks for this, Shawn.

  3. When Manning says that “Apparently we can’t stop eating, shopping or consuming,” it comes right after his observation of how obsessed we are with consumption, and how it seems to be all that we talk about. That’s what he’s getting at here: what kind of conversation are we living? One obsessed by consumption? Or something else?

  4. And those conversations exhaust me! I hate being an adult and having to converse that way with other adults. There are so many other things that could be discussed. The consumption is just exhausting.

    I’m not claiming my husband and I are perfect non-consumers. I just don’t really enjoy focusing on it so much. If it is a conversation about how to get less consumer minded or better consumer minded, those are energizing and encouraging. The conversations about how to get the best deals on Black Friday, etc. are very tiring.

  5. Hi Shawn – I guess my commnent goes against everything you seem trying to express, I just wanted to tell you my husband I were in Paradise Tuesday to the Rainbow Dinner Theater, matinee of course to avoid night driving, , and to top everything, I purchased a new tote bag at the gift shop during intermission. Nice play—about a group of 6 adult family members getting their van off the road and stuck during a bad storm—and took refuge in an Amish home.

  6. I absolutely love this! My family and I are in the process of selling everything we own for a more simple life on the road. This truth is our reason why. Love your blog!

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