The Christian Consumer Living Faithfully in a Fragile World

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2011-11-29
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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Be it fair trade coffee or foreign oil, our choices as consumers affect the well-being of humans around the globe, not to mention the natural world and of course ourselves. Consumption is a serious ethical issue, and Christian writers throughout history have weighed in, discussing topics such as affluence and poverty, greed and gluttony, and proper stewardship of resources. These voices are often at odds, however. In this book, Laura M. Hartman formulates a coherent Christian ethic of consumption, imposing order on the debate by dividing it into four imperatives: Christians are to consume in ways that avoid sin, embrace creation, love one's neighbor, and envision the future. An adequate ethics of consumption, she argues, must include all four considerations as tools for discernment, even when they seem to contradict one another. The book includes discussions of Christian practices such as fasting, gratitude, solidarity, gift-giving, Sabbath-keeping, and the Eucharist. Using exemplars from the Christian tradition and practical examples from everyday life, The Christian Consumeroffers a thoughtful guide to ethical consumption.

Author Biography

Laura M. Hartman is Assistant Professor of Religion at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: Consumption Mattersp. 3
Consumerism Distinguished from Consumptionp. 5
Consumption: Beyond Sociologyp. 9
Refining the Definitionp. 11
The Moral Import of Consumptionp. 16
Four Considerationsp. 21
Methods, Perspective, and Audiencep. 25
To Avoid Sinp. 30
Consumption Practices of Francis, Woolman, and Siderp. 33
Asceticism, Poverty, and Simplicityp. 36
Complicity in Consumptionp. 42
The Economy of Avoiding Sinp. 45
The Importance of Avoiding Sin in Consumptionp. 49
To Embrace Creationp. 54
The Earth Is Fruitful and Blessings Aboundp. 55
Human Hungers Are Not Sinfulp. 59
We Should Consume with Gratitude, Savoring, and Sharingp. 61
Wealth May Be Virtuousp. 63
We Are God's Beloved Childrenp. 66
Good Stewardship of Blessingsp. 70
Consumption and Creationp. 81
To Love the Neighborp. 84
What Is Love?p. 86
Love of Selfp. 89
Love of Close Othersp. 93
Love of Somewhat Distant Othersp. 96
Love of Placep. 110
Love of Faraway Othersp. 114
Love of Godp. 123
Envisioning a Better Life for All Neighborsp. 126
To Envision the Futurep. 128
Sabbath Keepingp. 130
Who Observes the Sabbath?p. 132
What Does Sabbath Keeping Entail?p. 135
How Observing a Sabbath Affects Consumptionp. 141
Eucharistp. 152
What It Means to Take the Eucharistp. 153
What Makes the Eucharist Eschatological?p. 159
What the Eucharist Teaches about Consumptionp. 160
Beyond Bread and Winep. 164
Sabbath, Eucharist, and Visions of the Futurep. 167
Conclusion: Considered Consumptionp. 169
Four Considerationsp. 170
Considerations Working Together: Three Contemporary Authorsp. 172
An Ethics of Discernmentp. 181
Some Examples: Transportation and Meatp. 184
Consumerism Revisitedp. 192
Notesp. 195
Indexp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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