Thursday, December 13, 2007

Colson cites The Suburban Christian on creating vs. consuming

I just found out that Chuck Colson's BreakPoint radio commentary for today cites my book The Suburban Christian. Here's an excerpt:

’Tis the season of consumption! At Christmastime, it is hard to escape the steady drumbeat of advertisements urging you to buy, buy, buy, buy. Not to mention the dreadful sense of guilt until you have covered everyone on your shopping list. But Christmas is also the perfect time to put the reins on over-rampant consumerism and buck the trend: Do it by creating something.

In his book, The Suburban Christian, author Al Hsu explains how Christians have condemned culture, avoided culture, critiqued culture, and copied culture. “Mostly,” he says, “we consume culture. But all of this is a far cry from God’s intent, that we fulfill the [creation or cultural] mandate and exercise our energies to create culture.” I could not agree more.

I'm glad for the reference, but I have to give credit to Andy Crouch for the ideas that Colson is quoting. The radio commentary makes it sound like I came up with it, but in the book I make it clear that this is Andy's thinking. His forthcoming book Culture Making develops these ideas more fully and will be out next summer.

Colson's commentary applies the idea of creating rather than consuming as a way to counter the consumerism of the holiday season. He says that Christmas is the perfect opportunity to be creative, to start family traditions, to make gifts rather than purchase them. We try to do this. Ellen makes and hand-stamps all of our Christmas cards, and our gifts to our coworkers this year are likewise homemade. And creating doesn't necessarily need to be making stuff; one of BreakPoint's bloggers writes a Christmas poem each year for her friends and family. As Colson puts it, "And whether you are tossing a ball or sanding a board, you are creating something—not only something in the physical realm, but also a space for intangible things like relationships and critical thinking and memories to be built."

So may this Advent season be a time not of frenzied consumerism, but of creative generation and eager anticipation. As the Christ child was birthed in an act of redemptive new creation, so too may God birth new things through us.


Heather said...

I love making Christmas gifts--there's something to thinking and praying for the receiver over a period of time rather than just during a credit card swipe.

Dianne said...

I have really been enjoying your blog. Always finding something relevant here! God bless.