What is the consumer dream? It's different for each one of us. That's the beauty and power of dreams. It's hard to argue or disagree with your dream, your goals, and equally difficult to challenge my goals and my dreams.
This is one of the most powerful forces at work because it feeds into and feeds off, individualism. The centre of the world is me, myself and I. We resist outside interference in our lives, our hopes and dreams. We resist it from government, we resist it from churches and religions, we resist it from families and we even resist it from partners.
With so many individual dreams comes the powerful drug of choice. A dazzling array of products are dreamt of to meet every possible and conceivable dream, and plenty that should have remained inconceivable. We'd like to blame the choice for our insatiable appetites, but if we're honest it's the other way around. Our hunger for the fulfilment of our dreams breeds ever greater choice.
It's the hunger that is the interesting thing. People remain hungry for meaning, purpose and fulfilment, no one wants to be unhappy, most people are hoping to find what will satisfy them and make them happy. For many these dreams don't appear unreasonable - family and comfortable surroundings for example and with that comes the plea, 'what's wrong with that?'
The biggest problem with this, is that our dreams are too small, we are too easily pleased. With have become satisfied with the created rather than in the Creator. We have become fulfilled by HD TV, by iPhones and iPods, we have been bewitched by fashion, technology and home improvements. Our dreams are in fact neither individual, or in reality much of a dream.
Jesus, questioned all of this - he warned us that life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Most Christians don't really believe him, so it's no surprise the pagans don't. Jesus urged us to forget the treasures on earth because they were poor treasures compared to the ones we could have in heaven. He challenges the very basis of consumption and makes us wonder why we spend money on what does not satisfy. In it's place He calls us to bigger dreams, to dream of a kingdom, to hunger and thirst for greater things, to find it not in getting but in giving, not in keeping but in sharing, not on our own but as part of a new family and community.
The consumer dream is one of the biggest and most dangerous spiritual evils of our day. Jesus told us wealth was deceitful, and for most of the UK, the first deceit is to convince us we're not wealthy and that our need for more is justifiable. At the end of it all I don't want to be defined by what I consumed, but by what consumes me - Jesus Christ.