Christians are deeply concerned about consumerism, but lack the tools to be able to engage robustly in the debate about its future. Economists obfuscate, politicians polarise, and church leaders bluff.
While desire to consume is a fundamentally human trait, consumerism offers only illusory satisfaction. Yet Christianity happens to be unusually well-equipped to lead the fight against Mammon’s most alluring secular narratives. Consumerism is human action, so it can as easily be redemptive as it can be parasitical. We just need to consume for God instead.
Drawing on the Church’s rich traditions of Social Liturgy, Buying God calls on the Christian community to renew its confidence and strength in proclaiming this good news.
Uniting theoretical work on theology, capitalism and consumerism with a scheme of detailed practical action, the book explores how we can wean ourselves off the material and on to the eternal, through prayer, example, and vibrant social action.
Part 1 How to do the Theology
1. Types of Theology
2. Worldview Theology
3. Etiquette Theology
4. Good Theology
Part 2 God and Consumerism
5. What in the World is Consumerism?
6. What does God Think About It?
7. What Should We do About It?
8. The Consumption Audit
1. The Consumer’s Prayer
2. A Month of Virtue
3. Consumption Audit
4. Useful Websites
5. The Bible on Money
6. Six Week Reflection Course
References and Further Reading
'Dr Poole’s work is a magnificent contribution to the church. Written by a gifted theologian and practitioner, this book is for all those wishing to gain both a richer theological understanding of capitalism and modern consumerism, and practical insights on how we can simplify our lives. This is vital work, not only for our own spiritual benefit, but also for the good of society and for the wellbeing of our planet.' -- Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
'This is a wonderful book. It is very accessible, theologically sophisticated, and rooted in a deep knowledge of commerce, management and consumerism, in which Eve Poole is an expert. I know of no better book for guiding Christians in the day to day world of consumerism. Inspiring, compelling and very easy to read, it deserves a wide readership.' -- Peter Sedgwick, theologian and former Principal of St. Michael’s College, Llandaff.
'Knowledgeable and accessible, as adept at exploring economics as at delineating theological method, Buying God offers a steady hand through the demands of global capitalism and the seductions of human desire. Eve Poole offers an example of how theology is always politics, and always devotional – and, at its best, both at the same time.' -- Samuel Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields
'This learned and thought provoking book might be the only you you ever need on the subject. It manages to combine a whistle stop tour through theology’s big dogs with a helpful primer on capitalism and some deeply practical questions to provoke action. It’s rare that a book this readable and amusing covers so much intellectual ground.'-- Elizabeth Oldfield, Director, Theos
‘This book is thought provoking, giving the reader the opportunity to reflect seriously from a theological perspective about their own consumerism and the wider implications of consumerism within the global economy.’ -- Revd Dr Fiona Stewart-Darling, Bishop’s Chaplain in London Docklands