Consumerism and Drug Addiction

In this essay, Darcy McGuffin reflects on the connection between consumerism and drug addiction.  In the face of a culture addicted to the illusion of “happily ever after,” the church needs to return to its roots and acknowledge that suffering is a part of life in a fallen world.  She righlty claims that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can follow Christ’s example in the midst of it.

Consumerism and Drug Addiction: Coping with Suffering

4 Responses to “Consumerism and Drug Addiction”

  1. Mariko Metzger Says:

    I appreciated Darcy’s heart for those who struggle with drug addiction. I did my brief internship at a chemical dependency unit of a hospital years ago, so I know a little about how chronic such conditions are and how profoundly such dependency impacts their families. I think what it comes down to is that we are creatures who have to have the meaning of life. The economic system takes advantage of such innate craving we all share and, as the essay shows, things will never give us validity and fulfillment.

    I apologize if this sounds kind of irrelevant, but one of the things I enjoy in my spare time is reading biographies. So far, there has been no one I’ve read who left a mark on our history who didn’t go through severe suffering. The most recent one I read was the life of Frederick Douglass. It says that, even if Douglass was not crazy about Abraham Lincoln at first, when he met him face-to-face, he said, “There was no vain pomp and ceremony about him… I at once felt myself in the presence of an honest man – one whom I could love, honor and trust without reserve or doubt… I was impressed with his entire freedom from popular prejudice against the colored race.”

    I recommend everyone to read on great men and women in history who were friends with suffering. They will help us place our own present circumstances in the proper context, and we might come away thinking, “If they could take that, surely I can take this.”

  2. Paul Louis Metzger Says:

    Mariko, thanks for your response to Darcy’s essay and your reflection on Frederick Douglass’s life. It is true that we will not be able to make a meaningful mark on others’ lives if we are unwilling to go through suffering. Only as we enter into the suffering of others can we bring true comfort. Also, God often uses others in their suffering to impact us. I also appreciated knowing of Douglass’s reflection on Lincoln. Like Douglass, Lincoln experienced great suffering. Great leaders like Douglass and Lincoln were made through great suffering, and through identifying with others in their suffering. Lincoln and Douglass did not avoid people in their suffering based on a belief that they themselves were entitled to happiness at all cost, contrary to our consumer culture. Over against fleeting happiness, true and lasting joy is found through identifying with Jesus among his people and laboring with them to conquer our respective addictions to materialism and drugs and base pleasures in pursuit of the eternal glory of his all-consuming love.

  3. chris laird Says:

    Mariko,

    The connection to Fredrick Douglass is entirely relevant since we are talking about addiction and isn’t addiction a way to “mask” or medicate our pain and suffering? I think back to my years of addiction as a youth. At the the time I thought I was simply choosing a certain “lifestyle” but in retrospect it is clear to that I was hiding from life and seeking to insulate myself from pain. When I found Christ, there was an immediate sense of freedom to engage life again without fear or shame. Sadly after my initial conversion I started “using” Jesus in the same way that I once used drugs, to hide from life and to medicate my pain – in some sense Jesus became my “great drug above.” It has only been in recent years that I have been confronting my desire to “use” Jesus and I am discovering a “Jesus I Never Knew.” My relationships you and Paul and with the rest of the New Wine community has been a wonderful “re-hab center.” Thanks for your friendship, C

  4. Mariko Metzger Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for taking time to read my post and sharing some of your life story with us. I am sure I use Jesus for my own purposes, too, since my prayers so often end up looking like a shopping list. I rarely sense that the great “Other” is listening to me and I am actually, personally, talking to Him when I pray. When I do sense such a precious encounter, though, I come away knowing that the great Almighty loves this little me. That is what provides sufficiency, the sense of wholeness to me in this broken world.

    I grew up in a culture which emphasizes criticisms rather than affirmations to steer children to be socially acceptable. I remember over a certain period of my early life when I had an awareness that there was a part of me that was watching me with cold aloofness. This is actually not a very uncommon phenomenon. I don’t know what psychologists call this, but it happens when a child internalizes critical voices from significant others and takes them into their own psyche. Many times, these external voices stored within become the basis of a child’s view of self and the world. When God calls us to Himself and we accept (of course, only by grace) His love and forgiveness, our internal world turns upside down. The cold gaze gets replaced by the loving and tender attention from the Creator and Redeemer.

    At the same time, I have observed at times that, when some people’s ‘born-again life’ is treated as everything about them as if there was no life prior, things tend to come up to the surface to interfere with open-handed joy. As believers, we now have the loving and tender gaze through which to visit our past pain. Thanks so much for allowing me to share my thought.

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