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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detoxing for your soul from the effects of consumerism, 15 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Consumer Detox: Less Stuff, More Life (Paperback)
For the sake of full disclosure I should come clean that the author of this book is a friend of mine and we're involved in Breathe together so it's a privilege to review his first book and it's a project I've been involved in from it's earliest drafts.

In a recent article on `The Tyranny of Choice' the author of The Economist article devotes a paragraph to the `voluntary simplicity' movement which must surely include Breathe of which Mark was one of the founders. The Economist says this movement `promises to help people shed the distractions and stresses of the consumerist world and journey towards their inner wholeness' which is exactly what Mark attempts in Consumer Detox.

However The Economist says the wisdom of this movement amounts to, `advice to shopping less often, keeping less stuff, watching less TV and sending fewer e-mails.' So is that it? Is that the best that we have to offer?

Thankfully, the answer is no. The Christian response is completely different,

"Simplicity isn't about getting by on `what you need' instead of having `what you want' (such a hard distinction to make anyway), simplicity is about wanting something else. We're not being asked to limit our desire; we're being asked to tether our desire to the wild vision of God....In other words, simplicity isn't about having a smaller life, it's about having a bigger vision." (p224 - original emphasis)

And that's the heart of this book, detoxing our souls from the effects of consumerism in order that we catch and live for this bigger vision. The book is in three parts: first coming to terms with what consumerism is and how it works; second identifying some pathways to a resistance and hope and thirdly adventures in a new way of living.

This is down to earth, real life and funny but with plenty of sharp thinking and enough theological depth to satisfy at a number of levels. Mark does an expert job of both calling out consumerism for the shallowness of its offer but also in pointing us towards something deeper and richer. It's also practical as at the end of the book it offers a `consumer detox diary' with some suggestions of steps to take, talk about and take further.

Even though I'd read the manuscript several times already I still found reading it again helpful (surely a good sign about a book's usefulness and worth) especially about resting and stopping. In short this is now the book that I would recommend and give to anyone beginning the journey to a deeper discipleship in our materialistic and consumer driven society. Ironically given the subject matter this is a must buy.
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden

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