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Australia's folk religion

One of the interesting ideas in Mark Sayers' book called 'The trouble with Paris' (available from amazon, koorong etc) is the idea of folk religion in the west.  In non western countries people often operate at two levels.  At the high religion level of ultimate reality and philosophical questions people may be Christian or Islamic, but often in the day to day living they operate according to their folk religion - consulting witchdoctors about health issues, performing various rituals etc.  He then poses the question - are we any different in the west?  Could our folk religion, the one we use at a daily level to navigate our lives be Consumerism?

We might be committed followers of Christ and believe all the right doctrines, regularly go to church, small group, be involved in mission etc.  But in day to day issues do we default to a consumerist folk religion? 
  • How many times do people (even Christians) resort to 'retail therapy' to manage their stress or overcome hurts rather than experiencing a fresh measure of God's peace that passes understanding through prayer etc? 
  • How many times do people (even Christians) seek to bolster their identity through the purchase of items that also provide a sense of status - a new car/house/clothes - instead of having their status as children of God and heirs of His kingdom renewed by the presence of the Holy Spirit?
  • How many times do people (even Christians) spend money to purchase experiences that provide thrills and goosebumps and fail to spend time seeking and finding God who is so awesome that He is beyond anything we could imagine?
How many times do you do these sorts of things?

Discipleship to Jesus is not just about the high religion stuff of philosophy, it is also about living in the everyday being able to stand and even thrive in the storms of everyday life.  It is also a process of weaning ourselves off our western folk religion.

David Wanstall, 03/09/2008