27 July, 2009

Have you contracted Affluenza?

Neither a typo nor a new strain of the swine flu, affluenza is not a sickness in the traditional sense.

I heard this word being used recently and thought it was a catchy way of describing a condition that ails Christians and Non-Christians alike.

A (non-Christian) definition from Wikipedia:

Affluenza, a portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. Sources define this term as follows:

affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. (de Graaf [1])
affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. (PBS [1])

So in other words, a clever name for materialism.

It is interesting that materialism is usually associated with those that have much and are focused on getting more. But really the basic definition of materialism or affluenza is being focused on what you don't have.
  • Those that have much and are focused on getting more
  • Those that have little and are focused on getting more
While we lived in the states, there were lots of examples of those that would be considered rich by most standards and were focused on getting more. More cars, more houses, more televisions, more Ipods, more stuff. I am afflicted by the dreaded affluenza at times as well.

Here in Central America, there are many examples of those that are poor by most standards and are also focused on getting more.

While the rich man has the resources to buy more and does, the poor man does not have the resources to buy more. The problem is that the focus of both men is the same, they are focused on what they don't have.

The world is driven to try to fill a void in their life that can only be filled by a relationship with Jesus Christ. So what about Christians? What kind of void are we trying to fill through the accumulation of more things?

Could it be the same lack in our own lives? Not a lack of salvation, but rather a lack of a real, intimate relationship with our God?

So what am I focused on? What are you focused on? Have you contracted the dreaded affluenza?

Let me prescribe to you the medicine which I too must take far too often.


aaron.duckworth said...

Good call! Don't forget about Medicine C


Ryan B said...

That is good medicine too Aaron! Thanks doc.

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