Sacramental Theology in a Consumer Society

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Abstract

Critics of consumerism frequently denounce it for being too materialistic. In fact, much consumer marketing appeals to desires that transcend the material. Marketers present material goods in a manner analogous to sacramental elements: a means of mediating an encounter with that which transcends the material. In a consumer society, it is important for Christian sacramental theology to distinguish itself from the quasi-sacramental appeal of consumerism. One important way to do this is to emphasize that Christian sacramental theology honors and cherishes material mediations of the transcendent far more than consumerism does.

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