Friday, March 23, 2012

The “Wiles of the Devil” in Global Capitalism

There are lots of ways to describe the world we live in. I’ve offered others myself elsewhere. What follows arises from a variety of factors I’ve encountered and wrestled with in recent weeks.

Scripture tells us that there is some form of organized, intelligent suprahuman opposition to God’s will and way in our world. Whether we personify this opposition to God or not, the real issue for us as God’s people is to discern this “devilish” strategy and equip ourselves to effectively resist it.

I suggest the following three A’s as a way to mark out a threefold strategy of opposition to God that often ensnares God’s people, especially in the West, under global capitalism. This strategy is

Anesthesia
Amazement
Amnesia

The lures and attractions, comforts and security offered by global capitalism anesthetize us to meaning or keep meaning tethered to never-ending consumption.

The productive capacity of capitalism and the enchantment of novelty keep us continually amazed by its unlimited supply of goodies, gadgets, and gizmos.

This anesthetization and amazement collude to produce the final A – amnesia. We forget whose, and who we are, and what we are to be about in the world in the cornucopia of goods and comforts. The long view is denied us by such largesse.

What equips God’s people to discern and resist such stratagems? A list of three M’s will serve as a summary.

Meaning
Mystery
Memory

A compelling, startling vision of a desirable future (Kingdom of God) flames the embers of meaning into full flame. And when we can experience that future now in part, the power of its meaning grows exponentially and grips us more fully. Our lives become oriented to its claim on and call to us.

Amazement is countered by encountering genuine mystery. This mystery, accessible to faith, is that Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen One is the very center of all reality and that God’s plan is to gather all things in or under him (Eph.1:10)! Our life as God’s people, a multi-cultural community of many voices and ethnicities, is the present-day evidence that this is so and that the reign of all that is opposed to God and seeks to keep the world divided and teetering on the abyss of destruction and death is over and will be banished from God’s new creation. Rather than being merely amazed we are moved, moved to the worship of the true and living God.

It is memory - biblical memory - that counteracts amnesia. It is the story of God’s journey with Israel and the church that becomes our memory and enables us to live out of that story rather than the three A’s story global capitalism seeks to impose on us.

There is nothing more important, in my opinion, than this task of equipping God’s people to discern and resist this form of the “devil’s wiles”!

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