Could Michael’s lifestyle have been in part a product of our consumer culture? The culture that loathes maturity, discipline, and self control. The culture designed to keep adults thinking and buying like kids. As Benjamin Barber says, “For consumer capitalism to prevail, you must make kids consumers and make consumers kids.”
M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, defines maturity as “the ability to delay gratification and make rational decisions to maximize future benefits.” Even though that’s the only healthy road from adolescence to adulthood, our consumer culture discourages it. Many of us have joined Michael Jackson, opting instead to remain in Neverland indefinitely. And based on our raging budget deficits, it looks like our president and congress have joined us there.
It seems that Christianity in America has adopted this consumerism as well in its attempt to appeal to and reward desire. So we shouldn’t be surprised at the spiritual immaturity evident in the Church.
Scripture tells us instead that in order to be formed in the likeness of Christ, we can not always get what we want. Fortunately, there’s a growing hunger across America to escape Neverland. That will require surrendering control and embracing self-denial. In doing so we’ll receive what we need to mature in Christ, not simply what we want.
Have you escaped Neverland?
Content from the book The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani