Christmas consumerism: A symbol of materialism or generosity?

In the days after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the rest, the Christmas shopping season is well underway—and with it, a peculiar blend of hyper-generosity and hyper-consumerism. Surely there is much to celebrate, and not just in the social and spiritual glories of human exchange and gift-giving. Continue Reading...

Gratitude: The heart of capitalism

As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables with our loved ones, we’re reminded of the imperative of gratitude. Counting our blessings is an integral part of the Christian life and increasingly recognized by science as having physical and psychological benefits. Continue Reading...

Shenandoah and ‘every good gift’ for which we give thanks

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” I’ll be reading this passage (James 1:17-18) to my congregation on Thanksgiving morning. Continue Reading...

The sharing economy: How do we maintain a culture of ownership?

As we survey the modern economy, individual ownership appears to be on the demise. We see an increasing preference for access over ownership and collaborative consumption, from the streaming- and cloud-centric features of the latest technology to the increasingly “share-happy” habits of American consumers amid a burgeoning “gig economy.” On the surface, such a shift would seem to bring endless benefits: more options, more flexibility, better quality, cheaper prices, fewer risks, and (presumably) more freedom. Continue Reading...

Sentimentalism in the Church: a modern epidemic

Involvement in the Christian Church should never be characterized by self-centeredness. Christianity, by definition, is a religion that emphasizes sacrifice and selflessness. However, a recent shift towards religious sentimentalism raises questions about the desire for truth in the modern-day. Continue Reading...

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