Consumerism in the Church

In C.S. Lewis’ 1942 classic The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape advises his young disciple Wormwood on how to promote consumerism in the church:

If a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organization should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires. The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction. In the second place, the search for a “suitable” church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be a pupil (pp. 72-73).

By the looks of things, I’d say it’s working.

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One response to this post.

  1. Great quote. I am always amazing how much I have forgotten from The Screwtape Letters!

    Last month I finished reading The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani (Zondervan, 2009). The subtitle is “Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity.” It is an intriguing book. … certainly unique in its approach, but insightful and I found it a refreshing take on the consumerism that has seduced so much of the North American Church.

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