Consuming Faith: Integrating Who We Are with What We Buy

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Press: Sheed & Ward (November 28, 2003)
Author Name:Beaudoin, Tom


Tom Beaudoin's Consuming Faith presents key questions about attempting to put our spirituality into practice by integrating who we are with what we buy Where do these products come from? Who made them and in what conditions do they work? How does what I buy affect others? What does my faith have to do with what I buy? When is enough, enough? Today, it is more important than ever to pay attention to our economic spirituality. 
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[Consuming Faith] may play a critical role in helping to shape the theological agenda...In an accessible style sure to have wide appeal, Tom Beaudoin argues for an economic spirituality. 
Beaudoin helps us understand how the modern economy shapes our imaginations and elicits our commitments.
(The Christian Century )Economic spirituality? Yes, of course.
And now with Consuming Faith, we have an examination of conscience about what we wear, eat and watch.
You'll never look at a logo in quite the same way again.
(Paul Wilkes, Author of The Seven Secrets of Successful Catholics )Consuming Faith has the great merit to offer paths towards a realistic spirituality for our consumer society—far from naiveté, moralizing, or demonizing.
Tom Beaudoin's call for a responsible attitude in buying and consuming is rooted in his deep concern for the inalienable dignity of all human beings which transcends all economic categories.
Although Beaudoin calls for a "spiritual indifference to numbers," I wish his new book a large sales success! (Professor Hans Küng, President, Global Ethic Foundation )Over the past ten years, writers of faith have reengaged the ancient question of God and Mammon, what is owed God and what is owed to Rome.
From Harvey Cox and Ron Sider, to Robert Wuthnow and Jim Wallis, the pressing questions are not only about the just distribution of income and wealth, but the impact of pervasive consumerism on human identity and relations.
Tom Beaudoin has advanced that debate with a profound yet accessible reflection on our "branded" culture and the alternatives available to it.
Consuming Faith invites us to live life anew, freed of the golden chains which hold so many prisoners.
This is a timely, compelling book that deserves a wide audience and debate.
(Richard Parker, Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior Fellow of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Univer )Mr.
Beaudoin deals honestly with the nasty little secret behind the branding culture.
Although Mr.
Beaudoin is critical of the economic strategies corporations adopt to remain competitive, this is not an anti-corporation rant.
It is a call to faithful living in North America.
(Dallas Morning News )A hard-hitting and ethically provocative book that deserves a wide-reading.
(Spirituality and Health )In an age of increasing globalization, where a purchase puts one in contact with people from China to El Salvador (a truly catholic experience), Consuming Faith calls us to a greater sense of awareness and responsibility as to what we buy and consume.
Anthony Messenger )He does help the reader understand the theological and ethical issues involved in the disconnect between those who make the products and those who consume them.
(Patriot News )Beaudoin's first book, Virtual Faith, alerted many readers to the 30-something Catholic's gift for language, appreciation of material culture's spiritual significance and theological acumen.
In this book he turns his attention to a topic he confesses he had previously overlooked: the role of economics in the branded world in which young people live, move and have their being...Beaudoin has once again put an understudied topic on the Christian agenda.
(Publishers Weekly )The author makes an irrefutable case for how economic choices are part of everyday spirituality.
(Horizons: The Magazine For Presbyterian Women )This book must be read by those who work with anyone 18 to 38 years old, anyone who has been raised in a branded culture like ours.
(Father Mark G.
Boyer Priest )Beaudoin seems to be finding his own true voice in some of these pages.
Seiple Journal of the American Academy of Religion )Consuming Faith is a provocative look into the role that definitive faith can and should play in the realm of finances and consumerism.
(Eric Hurtgen Relevant Magazine )

About the Author

Tom Beaudoin teaches religious studies at Santa Clara University. 
He is the author of Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X.


Religion & Spirituality,Religious Studies,Ethics,Business & Money,Marketing & Sales,Consumer Behavior,Christian Books & Bibles,Christian Living,Business & Professional Growth

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Comment List (Total:2)

  •     Beaudoin's presentation of his theology of consumption and spirituality is very accessible to people new to the concepts. His non-moralizing approach is inspirational rather than guilt-inducing. His humor is delightful. Although I personally do not come from a Christian tradition, I find this book applicable to my own life. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about global economics.
  •     Tom Beaudoin's Consuming Faith names multiple challenges of living Christian faith in a market-driven society. He pays particular attention to the anonymity of product production, linking global injustices to the clothing and footware found in North American stores. He offers a fine reflection on the use and abuse of unknown human bodies around the world to create products that clothe North American bodies. Beaudoin's investigation of this question began with his own concern about his favorite articles of clothing, and his efforts to track down their sources and the conditions under which they were made. His pursuit was challenged at every turn, and frequently turned up in dead ends.The book is highly readable and accessible to a general audience. It falls short in two ways. One is that he fails to substantiate some claims. I'm not so concerned that it is poor scholarship, since it is written for a popular audience. But doesn't he think that some of his readers would also like to get their hands on the information he found so enlightening? The second shortfall is that he offers no direction. How are we to proceed? Considering that this started with his personal search, he might have at least offered for consideration the actions he finally chose for himself (besides writing a book). Beaudoin's is a good and thought provoking book, but it could have been a much better book had he given it more.

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