An Interview with Vincent J. Miller

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : February 1, 2005

The Matthews House Project has the transcript from Ken Myers’ interview with Vincent J. Miller about consumerism.  Definitely worth your time.

for further reading . . .

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5 Responses to “An Interview with Vincent J. Miller”

  1. blorge on February 1st, 2005 2:44 pm

    It was a really interesting article, however I’d like to hear YOUR thoughts on it. Where do you agree or disagree?

  2. Van S on February 2nd, 2005 12:05 am

    I very much agree. The idea that commodification (which abstracts things and makes them contextless fragments of consumption) has caused us to disembody our faith away from Tradition and Community is profound. We have essentially unincarnated our faith and allowed each individual to re-incarnate their faith according to their own consumer tastes.

  3. Chris on February 3rd, 2005 1:16 am

    So, along those same lines, what does that imply for change? A common thread I’ve noticed with the current discussion about consumerism is that when we get to the application part, things kind of fizzle out. I understand the desire not to proscribe any specific actions, as that could turn into legalism, but what are the practicial implications I’m wondering?

  4. Van S on February 3rd, 2005 1:27 am

    The problem is that the problem is so enormous…its not like you could do a couple of quick fixes and have everything be ok. I think it requires submission. People need to submit themselves to a community that isn’t determined by consumer tastes. People need to practice REAL hospitality, move towards sharing posessions, and begin to experience the sort of relationships that are formed when one is vulnerable to others. Also, people need to spend much less on luxury items, pay more for essentials (payin extra for local or fair trade goods, so that we feel connected to where the goods come from). The idea is to get away from feeling like we can get somethign whenever we want it for a cheap prices, without understanding where it came from, and the conditions under which it was manufactured. These are just some general ideas that are out there. And they are hard ideas to swallow.

  5. Chris on February 4th, 2005 5:57 pm

    I don’t find them hard to swallow, I think after your explanation I understand what we’re all talking about when we say “consumerism.” I guess I had this impression that consumerism is mostly a bad thing, and that we should get away from being consumers. But what I realize now is that what you’re really calling for is conscientious consumerism. You want people to remain consumers, but just be more thoughtful about it. I guess I would call some of things you’re referring to “materialism” not “consumerism.”

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