You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17
What would happen if American Christians took seriously the 10th Commandment – the one that tells us not to covet?
Here’s my guess: The economy would collapse.
Our financial system is based on advertising that feeds into a covetous lifestyle. I just saw a story on PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (“Advertising Ethics”) that talked to Christian leaders about the sins associated with advertising. They talked about sex and violence in ads (which is what we have come to expect Christians to get uptight about), but they never touched upon the single most important sin of advertising: That advertisers seek to make us want things that we do not need. They seek to make us unsatisfied and discontent with what we have, creating in us a desire for that which others have.
What would happen if we Christians would say, “I refuse to be coerced in such a sinful way. I will not give in to the culture of discontent. I will live without the latest gizmo, the most fashionable brand-name clothes. I will become aware that every time I watch TV, read a magazine, listen to the radio, or surf the internet, I am being bombarded with marketing geared to make me covet.”
For an insightful article on how global marketers are seducing young people into a covetous life, see Tom Sine’s article, "Branded for Life".
Also, check out the book by my friend and fellow CCO staffer, Sam Van Eman, On Earth as It Is in Advertising?: Moving from Commercial Hype to Gospel Hope (Brazos Press, 2005).
technorati: emerging church, spiritual formation, social action