- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press,US (1 Dec 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830818979
- ISBN-13: 978-0830818976
- Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.9 x 1.8 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,518,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
While his intent is laudable, his selection of essays is disappointing. Out of the ten essays I found only three to be engaging: John Tropman's "Catholic & Protestant Ethic", Craig Gay's "Sensualist Without Heart" and Bill McKibben's "Returning God to the Center". The remaining essays were pedantic and academic, for example, one writer states, "The Christian patristic vision offers a coherent metaphysic in which to interpret and to address issues of ecology and global consumption." Really? I do say.
Clamp wants to sound the alarm and establish a new Christian theology, which he titles: the "theology of consumption" . These ten essays are his attempt to bring forth this new theology. In these essays he juxtaposes consumerism and capitalism, finding both to be in dire need of Christian redemption. As he understands it, "consumer capitalism's" problem is not with the "legitimacy of making money" (that's OK), but what gets Clamp is what we, the American consumer, actually enjoy spending the money we earn! Go figure. Rodney Clamp fails to realize that `consumption' and `consumer' are pejorative terms that can not be separated from the American ethos. Neither can consumerism nor consumption in America be tamed by a Christian theology.
So, if you are a student of the "American consumer", and you are used to reading engaging writers like Eric Schlosser's
"Fast Food Nation" or Lizabeth Cohen's A Consumer Republic you will most likely find this book dense, difficult and disappointing. However, if you have hours to burn, and you want to plod through seven uninspiring essays, then, yes, you could glean insight and something of value. This book is really targeting ministers, professors of theology or students of American consumerism. Conditionally recommended.