Thoughts on Consumerism and Christianity from William Cavanaugh

William Cavanaugh is a Practical Theologian and author of Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.  He offers some good thoughts to remember during the seasonal shopping craze.

Are Christians for or against the free market? Should we not think of ourselves as consumers? Are we for or against globalization? How to we live in a world of scare resources? William Cavanaugh brings us a theological view and practice of everyday economic life with the use of Christian resources. He argues that we should not take the free market, consumer culture, globalization, and scarcity as givens, but change the terms of debate in each case. His consideration of the free market is not a question of for or against, but when exactly a market is truly free. He discusses consumption in light of the Eucharist (a favorite topic--see his book, Torture and Eucharist) through which God forms us to consume and be consumed rightly. He charges the church to know how to be both global and local, rather than one or the other. He reminds us that life in Christ is life abundant, not an existence of scarcity. Being Consumed examines pathologies of desire in contemporary free market economies, and displays a positive vision of how the dynamics of desire in Christ can both form and be formed by alternative economic practices.


  1. Thanks for a informative post. Want to add, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

  2. Ultimately this is a great essay, very thought provoking and worth reading. Thanks William Cavanaugh for contributing! @Rick pual.