Thinking Out Loud

November 13, 2008

Donald Miller on Capitalism’s Influence on the Church

free-market-jesusToday we watched the curriculum DVD, Free Market Jesus, produced by Bluefish TV for use as either a one week or two week small group teaching.   As a single viewing, Miller’s lecture runs 61 minutes; as a speaker, Miller is soft spoken, engaging and very focused on his topic.

I couldn’t help but notice a similarity between this and the two Rob Bell full-length lectures I’ve reviewed previously on this blog.   Whereas Bell’s Everything is Spiritual deals with science, while his The God’s Aren’t Angry deals with anthropology; Donald Miller’s Free Market Jesus deals with economics; the influence that profit-driven capitalism has had on two institutions:  the Church and the family.  Together, these three lectures make a great trilogy.   I only wish that, like Bell’s full length DVDs these were a retail commodity instead of a more-expensive curriculum product.

After showing how the Church looked toward free market economics as a model for growth and structure, the second half of the lecture deals with God’s model for Church and family.   It’s one of those, “How did we get on this subject?” moments that transitions suddenly, but well.   As a curriculum product, there’s lots of room for discussion here.   I watched some of this twice.

Well, that’s how I saw it; but as we often do at Thinking Out Loud, here’s some of the publisher marketing.

The average American encounters more than 3000 advertisements each day. The formula for most ads is:

  1. You are not happy
  2. You will be happy if you purchase this product.

How has this overwhelming commercial message shaped our view of spirituality, the church and Jesus?

In Free Market Jesus, Donald Miller illustrates how culture always serves as a lens for our understanding of Christianity.  He then addresses how scripture defines spirituality and why the scripture is still relevant in our modern culture.

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