Bastards with Bibles, Part 3

July 30, 2008 by

This is part three in a series about how our impending identity crisis is funking our souls. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up.

Organization as Soul Provider
When our identity is no longer found in who we are and how God sees us, we look to organizations to shape who we are and give meaning to our lives. From phones and fashion to politics and causes, our identity is being formed by who we buy from and who we belong to. This process of organization as soul provider has been gaining serious momentum. Consider these four reasons:

1. Globalization: We’re connected to everyone, everything, everywhere. We Digg our Face-My-Twitter-Blog-elcious-LinkedIn-Wiki-world. Because we’re connected to everything, we’ve forgotten what it means to be connected to the right things. People are more lonely and isolated than ever before. Today, 1 out of every 4 households in the U.S. has just one person living there. In 1950, it was 1 out of every 10.

2. Options: We have more choices than ever before. It’s no wonder why places like Trader Joes, Five Guys and In-N-Out are so successful because they’ve narrowed the amount of choices for us. We cling to companies that decide for us. We really don’t want so many options, we just think we do. It’s one of the reasons we like Apple so much. Walk into Office Max or go buy a computer on CDW and you have hundreds of decisions to make.

3. Branding: We have a lot of the same stuff all trying to tell us why it’s not the same stuff. Observe the shelves in any grocery store and you’ll see rows and rows of the same food just packaged differently. Do we really need a dozen different types of peanut butter?

4. Disruption: We prefer shortcuts and convenience. More and more people–especially in America–are working with their minds more than their hands. This has resulted in mental exhaustion and fat bodies. We spend less time relating, thinking and reading because our minds are too tired. We’ve lost touch with the rhythm of creation, seasons, day and night. Because we’re doing so much, we are continually looking for more things to help us get more things done.

This era of organization as soul provider is a constant struggle because we’ve been wrestling with our identity–who we are and what our souls are about since the beginning of time. It stems from our deep down desire to be known. In a spiritual sense, this is the way we’re wired.

In Psalm 139:1-6, David cries out “God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too–your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful–I can’t take it all in!” (The Message)

Next, I’ll wrap this little series up with what it looks like to have a soul and what the church’s role in this identity crisis is.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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4 Responses to “Bastards with Bibles, Part 3”

  • Heath
    July 30, 2008

    Wow! Man are we ever on the same page. I was just writing about the same thing, because of systematic desensitization it takes so much to stimulate us now – whether that be chips or porn. We need extreme chips, perscription stength ultimate deoderant, porn with two girls, a confused young boy, some cool whip and a weed eater…we have to have extreme hyperbole just to get our attention, just think what it takes to satiate us!

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  • Paul Prins
    July 30, 2008

    another great post. The second point you raise is really quite counter intuitive but has scientific backing. A TED presenter spoke on this topic back in 2005. Just about 20 minutes and very interesting.
    See the video online.

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  • Me
    July 30, 2008

    I hate this because it is true… and I’m as trapped in this as the next guy.
    I’m also ashamed that even I — a follower of the one true God — cannot get myself to “…be still and know that he is God…”
    Good stuff.

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  • Secret Latte
    August 1, 2008

    The whole thing resonated with me, especially number 3. Now that I live in Western Europe, most stores have one brand of, say, tomato paste. While at first that seemed odd, I’ve really embraced the simplicity of it and don’t feel I’ve lost out on quality due to lack of choice.
    I also hear that most Americans who live here for a decent time and then return to the States get quite a shock at how many choices they then have.

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