|Not that sort of Journey. . .|
The seductiveness of consumerism depends upon desire not being reducible to the desire for satisfaction. Desire is not only a restless lacking from which we seek deliverance. Desire can become reflexive, so that desire itself becomes desirable. It is more seductive to play upon the desirability of desire than to rush to satisfy desire. . . . People go shopping not just to acquire a product, but to go shopping. Sometimes people purposefully “go shopping” not in order to buy anything, but just to “go shopping.” The sociologist Zygmunt Baumann writes that in consumer society, “It is the running itself which is exhilarating, and however tiring it may be, the track is a more enjoyable place than the finishing line.” We who are formed by consumerism might be none too happy to have our restless hearts stilled in God. The restlessness is far too stimulating and desirable.John F. Hoffmeyer, ‘Sacramental Theology in a Consumer Society’, Dialog 53:2 (2014), pp. 127–133; quotation from p. 129
If some people do prefer the journey to the destination, I wonder how far they’ve succumbed to a consumerist mind-set. What – or in what ways – can growth be achieved by hopping from one spiritual discipline to another on the spiritual journey, as though moving from, say, a daily quiet time reading Scripture to mindfulness is an upgrade? Surely the concept of spiritual discipline implies perseverance. And I can’t help but notice that Baumann’s running-track imagery contrasts starkly with the author of Hebrews, who points out that Jesus fixed his eyes on the goal (Hebrews 12:1-2) rather than on the race itself. If the spiritual life is a journey, then for Christians, with eyes fixed on Jesus, the destination, and not a path of spiritual consumerism, has to take priority.