In a society which gives unthinking service to the consumer worldview, Christian conversion is the most subversive act possible. It involves a radical shift of worldview – a denial of the most basic creeds of consumerism. It is an upheaval of one’s attitude to values, relationships, possessions and identity.
Conversion is not giving mental assent to a set of ideas, it is entering a relationship. It affirms that relationship is at the heart of all that is real; relationship with the Creator and with other people. Christ’s summary of the old Testament Law, was to love God and others, and tack yourself on as an afterthought.
The Christian task is to overthrow those idols that take the place of the Creator. In themselves, these things may be quite worthy – money, sex, natural beauty, human reason, etc. But idolatry takes them and sets them as a goal or an end to themselves.
The main idol of the West is consumerism, an unbalanced, unhealthy obsession with money and the pleasures it can provide. Wealth becomes the goal of aspiration, the source of satisfaction. Little wonder that Christ described avarice as a dangerous rival for the worship due to God.
It is only in changing our materialistic worldview and ‘losing’ ourselves, that we can actually find our true identity. Those cultural idols of cash and consumption that demand our servitude keep us from a relationship with God, that sets us free.
The word ‘radical’ means getting to the very roots of an issue. True radicalism is not calling for the overthrow of governments or the remaking of society. The radical is the person who challenges the worldview of materialism and affirms that relationship is the base for our lives, that identity has a source beyond the shopping mall and that morality is solid and objective.
The radical is the lady, at the back of the church, who looks after her mother, gives herself to the service to others, prays to God, who gives her strength and identity and laughs at the ludicrous idea that money can buy happiness.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, my friends, I implore you, by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to Him; a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for His acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart.
Conform no longer to the pattern of this present world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Then you will be able to discern the will of God and to know what is good, acceptable and perfect.